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Lonely Planet Publications

327

SLOVENIA

Slovenia

DAMIEN SIMONIS

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HIGHLIGHTS

Slovenia

Imagine alpine meadows crisscrossed with quiet country lanes. Imagine baroque steeples
rising over stone villages. Picture soaring snow-tipped peaks presiding over virgin forests
and turquoise lakes. Switzerland? No, Slovenia, the tiny republic of immense natural beauty
squeezed between Croatia, Italy, Austria and Hungary.
With more than half its interior blanketed with forests, Slovenia is one of the worlds greenest countries and the sporty Slovenes take full advantage of their bounty. For adrenaline
junkies, the rugged interior offers canyoning, white-water rafting, rock climbing, skiing and
anything else you can think of doing on mountains. Swing down to the coast and scuba dive
to WWII wrecks. Or burrow into one of Slovenias majestic caves at Postojna or kocjan.
The urban landscape is equally varied. Slovenias capital, Ljubljana, is young and dynamic
with museums, galleries, a graceful baroque Old Town and the countercultural Metelkova
centre. The countrys architectural heritage includes Venetian fishing ports, Romanesque
churches and a wealth of turreted castles that evoke the days of princes and peasants.
As you relax in a thermal spa or sample one of Slovenias wines in a local caf, strike up a
conversation with a Slovene. Genial, multilingual and hardworking, Slovenes are sometimes
called the Swiss of the Balkans but they have never considered themselves part of that
volatile region. Even as war was engulfing its neighbours to the east, Slovenes worked to
build their economy and solidify their links to Europe. With Slovenias thoroughly European
heart and soul, it was only natural for the political arrangements to follow. In 2004 Slovenia
became the first country of the former Yugoslavia to attain membership in the EU.
FAST FACTS
Area 20,256 sq km
Capital Ljubljana
Currency tolar (SIT); 1 = 239SIT;

US$1 = 200SIT; UK1 = 349SIT; A$1 = 150SIT;


100 = 176SIT; NZ$1 = 131SIT
Famous for mountain sports, Lipizzaner horses,

plonky Ljutomer riesling


Key phrases dober dan (good day); pozdravljen (hi);

nasvidenje (goodbye); hvala (thanks); oprostite (sorry)


Official language Slovene; English, Italian and German

are widely understood


Population 2 million

%386;
international access code %00; %toll free 080

Telephone codes country code

Visas not required for most; see p381 for details

The glory days of Venice echoing in the


old streets of Piran (p366)
The Julian Alps' glimmering lakes of Bled
(p351) and Bohinj (p356)
Gliding down the icy blue Soa River
(p359) in a kayak or raft
Ljubljanas stately Old Town and its wild
side, Metelkova (p343).
The kocjan Caves (p363), recalling both
The Lord of the Rings and the Ring Cycle

ITINERARIES

Three days Enjoy the zesty street life and


nightlife of Ljubljana then zip up to Bled
to relax by the lake.
One week From Ljubljana and Bled, fan
out to the Soa Valley making stops in the
Bohinj Valley. Descend to the coast for a
look at Piran and the majestic kocjan
Caves.
Two weeks As above, adding some extreme
sports in Bovec or plenty of hiking around
Bohinj.

CLIMATE & WHEN TO GO


The ski season lasts from December to
March, though avalanche risks may keep
the Vri Pass closed until May. Lake Bled
freezes over in winter, but the short coastline
has a contrastingly mild, typically Mediterranean climate. April is often wet, but this
means accommodation is cheaper and the
vivid blossom-dappled forests are at their
scenic best. May and June are warmer, but
during these months hotel prices start to
rise, peaking in August, when rooms can be
hard to find at any price. Nonetheless, midsummer is the only time of year that cheap
student hostels are open. Moving into
autumn, warm September days are calm
and ideal for hiking and climbing, while
October can be damp.
See Climate Charts p388.

HISTORY

The Romans
In 181 BC the Romans established the
colony of Aquileia (Oglej in Slovene) on
the Gulf of Trieste and then went on to
annex the rest of Slovenia and Istria. After
subdividing the area into provinces and
establishing military bases in each one, they
built an extensive road system connecting
their new settlements. From these bases

S L O V E N I A H i g h l i g h t s 329

HOW MUCH?
Plain ajdovi ganci

(buckwheat groats) 450SIT


Bottle of cheap Teran wine

900SIT to 1200SIT
Litre of wine from the winemakers

barrel 330SIT to 380SIT


One days bicycle hire 3000SIT
One day ski pass 4900SIT

LONELY PLANET INDEX


Litre of petrol 193SIT to 196SIT
1.5-litre bottle of water 95SIT to 130SIT
Half-litre of Lako beer 165SIT (shop),

330SIT to 450SIT (bar)


Souvenir T-shirt 2700SIT to 3200SIT
Street snack (burek) 350SIT to 450SIT

developed the important towns of Emona


(Ljubljana), Celeia (Celje) and Poetovio
(Ptuj), where reminders of the Roman presence can still be seen.
The Roman Empire and its territories fell
to a wave of invasions in the 5th century
AD and a period of instability followed. The
ancestors of todays Slovenes arrived from
the Carpathian Basin in the 6th century and
spread outward, settling the Sava, Drava and
Mura River valleys, the eastern Alps, the
Friulian plain and east as far as Lake Balaton
in Hungary. At that time these people were
called Sclavi or Sclaveni, as were most Slavs.
As a social group they made no class distinctions, but chose a leader a upan (now the
word for mayor) or vojvoda (duke) in
times of great danger.

The Duchy of Carantania


When the Avars failed to take Byzantium
in 626, the Alpine Slavs united under their
leader Valuk and founded the Duchy of
Carantania (Karantanija), the first Slavic
state, with its seat at Krn Castle (now Karnburg in Austria).
By the early 8th century, a new class of
ennobled commoners (kosezi) had emerged,
and it was they who publicly elected and
crowned the new knez (grand duke) on the
dukes rock (kneni kamen) in the courtyard

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

Lonely Planet Publications


328

azma

Kutina

Bjelovar

Koprivnica

Sisak

va

E70

Sa

Petrinja

E65

A4

Ka
na
l

Krievci

Velika
Gorica

Karlovac
ca
Duga Resa

E65

Jastrebarsko

Samobor

Breice
E70

Krko

E65

Melitka

rnomelj
Koevje

Dolenjske
Toplice
Ribnica

Ri
ve r

Trebnje

E70

Novo Mesto

Sevnica

Kr
ka

Litija

SLOVENIA
Grosuplje Ivanna
Gorica

Podsreda

Podetrtek

S a va

Kolpa

E751

Buzet
Umag

Buje

Izola
Koper
Portoro
Seovlje
Piran

ADRIATIC
SEA

Grado

Opatija

V Planik
(1272m)
Ilirska
Bistrica
E61

kocjan
Caves
Muggia Trieste

Basovizza

Sezana
Divaa
Lipica
Lokev

Cerknica
Postojna
Veliki
Lake
Javornik
Cerknica
Pivka
Razdrto
ITALY

Straie
(955m)
Ajdovina

Predjama

E61

Vrhnika
Idrija

Logatec

Nova Gorica
Gorizia
Palmanova
Gradisca
Gonars
Trieste
Sempeter
Airport
K
ar
Cervignano
Monfalcone s t
del Fruli
Aquileia

Kranj

Bohinjska
l i Kobarid Ribev Laz
Vogel
Bistrica
an
A
Tolmin (1922m)
Tricesimo
lp
s
San Leonardo
kofja Loka
Most
Ronchis
Cerkno
na Soi
Udine Cividale
del Friuli
Bressa

Ju

Tarcento

Mt Kanin

Ljubljana

Brnik

ni
m
Ka
E652

Lesce
Radovljica
Bled

Triglav
(2864m)

Lake
Ukanc Bohinj

Trenta
Triglav
NP

Vri Pass

E651

Bovec

AUSTRIA
Krajnska Gora Karavanke Tunnel
krlatica E61 Jesenice K A R A V A N K E
(2740m)

Klagenfurt

E66
E55

Villach

Wurzenpass

E55

ca

In 748 the Frankish empire of the Carolingians incorporated Carantania as a vassal


state called Carinthia and began converting the population to Christianity. When
the Frankish state collapsed, a Carinthian
prince named Kocelj established a shortlived independent Slovenian kingdom
(86974) in Lower Pannonia. It was here
that calls for a Slavic archdiocese were first
heard.
In about 900, the Magyars subjugated
the Slovenian regions of Lower Pannonia
and along the Sava, cutting them off from
Carinthia. It wasnt until 955 that they were
stopped by forces under King Otto I at
Augsburg who introduced German control
of the region.
The Germans decided to reestablish Carinthia, dividing the area into half a dozen
border counties (or marches). Control of
the land was shared between the nobility
and various church dioceses and German
gentry were settled on it. The population
remained essentially Slovenian, however,
and it was largely due to intensive educational and pastoral work by the clergy that
the Slovenian identity was preserved.

Early Habsburg Rule

Menges
Domzale

E57

Molnik
Kamnik

Trbovlje
Zagorje
Hrastnik
ob Savi

Celje
Zalec

Velenje
ps
l
a A
nj
vi
a
- S

Zagreb

E59

Breg
a
vinj
E59
Dra
Rogaka
Slatina
Rogatec

Krapina

Zabok

CROATIA

Ormo
Ptuj
Zidani Most
E57

Slovenska
Bistrica
Pohorje
Massif

a
up

E71

Drava
Varadin

akovec

Beltinci

ur
a
Maribor
Slovenj
Gradec

Drava
Dravograd

Ravne na
Koroskem
E66

Klagenfurt

Murska
Sobota
E57

St Veit
Spittal

E55

n ja
Bed

E65

Lendava

Gorian

Zalalv
HUNGARY

Oriszentpter
Hodo

0
0

j
Lon

ni

SLOVENIA

The Carinthian Kingdom

Dobra

Slovenia

So

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of Krn Castle. Such a democratic process was


unique in the feudal Europe of the early Middle Ages.

Mr
ez

40 km
20 miles

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In the early Middle Ages, the Habsburgs


were just one of many German aristocratic
families struggling for hegemony on Slovenian soil, but as dynasties intermarried or
died out the Habsburgs consolidated their
power. Between the late 13th and early 16th
centuries, almost all of the lands inhabited
by the Slovenes passed into Habsburg
hands except for Istria and the Littoral,
which were controlled by Venice, and
parts of Prekmurje, which belonged to the
Hungarian crown.
Attacks by the Ottomans on southeastern
Europe began in 1408 and continued for
more than two and a half centuries; by
the start of the 16th century, thousands of
Slovenes had been killed or taken prisoner.
The assaults helped to radicalise landless
peasants and labourers who were required
to raise their own defences and continue
to pay tribute and work for their feudal

S L O V E N I A H i s t o r y 331

lords. More than a hundred peasant uprisings and revolts occurred between the 14th
and 19th centuries, but they reached their
peak between 1478 and 1573. None of the
revolts succeeded, however.
In the early 18th century, Habsburg economic decline brought on by a series of wars
was reversed, and Empress Maria Theresa
(174080) introduced a series of reforms
that awarded limited self-government,
greater religious freedom and the introduction of obligatory schooling. As a result,
agricultural output improved, manufacturing intensified and shipping from Austrias
main port at Trieste increased substantially.
The reforms also produced a flowering of
the arts and letters in Slovenia. The playwright and historian Anton Toma Linhart
and the poet and journalist Valentin Vodnik
produced their finest and most influential
works at this time.

Napoleon & the Illyrian Provinces


The French Revolution of 1789 convinced
the Austrian rulers that the reform movement should be nipped in the bud, and a
period of reaction began that continued
until the Revolution of 1848. Napoleon,
after being defeated by the Austrians at
Wagram in 1809, decided to cut the Habsburg empire off from the Adriatic. To do
so he created six Illyrian Provinces from
Slovenian and Croatian regions and made
Ljubljana the capital.
Although the Illyrian Provinces lasted
only from 1809 to 1813, France instituted
a number of reforms, including equality
before the law and the use of Slovene in
primary and lower secondary schools and
in public offices. Most importantly, the progressive influence of the French Revolution
brought the issue of national awakening to
the Slovenian political arena for the first
time.

Return to Austria
Austrian rule, restored in 1814, was now
guided by the iron fist of Prince Clemens
von Metternich. He immediately reinstituted the Austrian feudal system and
attempted to suppress every national movement from the time of the Congress of Vienna (1815) to the Revolution of 1848. But
the process of change had already started
in Slovenia.

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

330 S L O V E N I A

In 1848 Slovenian intellectuals drew up


their first national political program under
the banner of Zedinjena Slovenija (United
Slovenia). In essence it called for the unification of all historic Slovenian regions
within an autonomous unit of the Austrian
monarchy, the use of Slovene in education
and the establishment of a local university.
The demands were rejected as they would
have required the reorganisation of the
empire along ethnic lines.
The only tangible results for Slovenes in
the 1848 Austrian constitution were that
laws would henceforth be published in
Slovene and that the Carniolan (and thus
Slovenian) flag should be three horizontal
stripes of white, blue and red. Towards the
end of the 19th century a new idea emerged.
The distinguished Croatian bishop Josip
Strossmayer argued that the southern Slavs
should unite and demand greater autonomy
within the Austro-Hungarian empire.

WWI & the Kingdom of Serbs,


Croats & Slovenes
Although Slovenian political parties generally tended to remain faithful to AustriaHungary, the heavy loss of life and the
destruction of property during WWI lent
support to demands for greater autonomy.
Finally, in 1918, Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
banded together and declared the independent Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes,
under Serbian King Peter I.
The kingdom was dominated by the notion of Yugoslav (south Slav) unity, Serbian control and imperialistic pressure from
Italy. Slovenia was reduced to little more
than a province in this centralist kingdom,
although it did enjoy cultural and linguistic
autonomy.
In 1929 Peter Is son King Alexander
seized absolute power, abolished the constitution and proclaimed the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia. But the king was assassinated
five years later during an official visit to
France, and his cousin, Prince Paul, was
named regent.

WWII & the Partisan Struggle


Prince Paul, under pressure from Berlin
and Rome, signed a treaty with the Axis
powers in March 1941. He was overthrown
in a coup and the new king (the son of Alexander I) attempted neutrality, but German

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armies invaded and occupied Yugoslavia


in April. Slovenia was split up among Germany, Italy and Hungary.
Slovenian communists and other leftwing groups quickly formed a Liberation
Front (Osvobodilne Fronte; OF), and the
people took up arms for the first time since
the peasant uprisings. The OF, dedicated
to the principles of a united Slovenia in a
Yugoslav republic, joined the all-Yugoslav
Partisan army of the KPJ (Communist
Party of Slovenia) and its secretary-general
Josip Broz Tito. The Partisans received
assistance from the Allies and were the
most organised and successful of any
resistance movement during WWII.
After Italy capitulated in 1943, the antiOF Slovenian Domobranci (Home Guards)
were active in Primorska and, in a bid to
prevent the communists from gaining
political control in liberated areas, began
supporting the Germans. Despite this and
other support the Germans were forced to
evacuate Belgrade in 1944, losing control of
the Kingdom of Croats, Serbs & Slovenes
(later Yugoslavia).
Slovenia was liberated in May 1945, and
as many as 12,000 Domobranci and anticommunist civilians were sent back to Slovenia from refugee camps in Austria. Most
of them were executed by the communists
over the next two months.

Postwar Division
Of immediate concern to Slovenia after the
war was the status of liberated areas along
the Adriatic, especially Trieste. A peace
treaty signed in Paris in 1947 put Trieste
and its surrounds under Anglo-American
administration (Zone A) and the Koper and
Buje (Istria) areas under Yugoslav control
in Zone B.
In 1954 Zone A (with both its Italian
and ethnic Slovenian populations) became
the Italian province of Trieste. Koper and a
47km stretch of coast later went to Slovenia,
and Istria to Croatia.

Tito & Socialist Yugoslavia


Tito moved quickly after the war to consolidate his power under the communist
banner. It soon became obvious that Slovenias rights to self-determination and
autonomy would be very limited and that
Serbian domination from Belgrade would

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continue as it did under the Kingdom of


Yugoslavia.
Tito had distanced himself from the
Soviet Union as early as 1948, but initially
remained committed to creating a communist state. It didnt work. By the 1960s
Tito was forced to introduce elements of a
market economy. He also allowed greater
freedom of movement over the objection
of Communist Party officials.
A new constitution in 1974 gave the Yugoslav republics more independence (and autonomy to the ethnic Albanian province of
Kosovo in Serbia); by the end of the decade
Slovenia was the most advanced republic in
the federation.

Crisis, Renewal & Change


The death of Tito and the economic decline in Yugoslavia in the early 1980s led
to interethnic tensions, particularly when
Serbia proposed scrapping elements of the
1974 constitution in favour of more uniformity of the state. This was anathema to
Slovenes, who saw themselves under threat.
Murmurings of independence appeared in
influential magazines.
In June 1988 three Slovenian journalists
working for the Mladina (Youth) weekly
and a junior army officer who had given
away military secrets were tried by a military court and sentenced to prison. Mass
demonstrations were held throughout the
country in protest.
In the spring of 1989 the new opposition parties published the May Declaration
demanding a sovereign state for Slovenes
based on democracy and respect for human
rights. In September the Slovenian parliament amended the constitution to legalise
management of its own resources and
peacetime command of the armed forces.
In April 1990 Slovenia became the first
Yugoslav republic to hold free elections. A
coalition of seven opposition parties won
55% of the vote, and Kuan was elected
president of the presidency.
On 23 December 1990, 88.5% of the Slovenian electorate voted for an independent
republic effective within six months. The
presidency of the Yugoslav Federation in
Belgrade labelled the move secessionist and
anticonstitutional. Serbia then proceeded
to raid the Yugoslav monetary system and
misappropriated almost the entire monetary

S L O V E N I A H i s t o r y 333

issue planned for Yugoslavia in 1991 US$2


billion. The Slovenian government began
stockpiling weapons, and on 25 June 1991
Slovenia pulled out of the Yugoslav Federation altogether. This evening dreams are
allowed, President Kuan told the jubilant
crowd in Ljubljanas Kongresni trg the following evening. Tomorrow is a new day.
And so it was. On 27 June the Yugoslav army began marching on Slovenia but
met great resistance from the Territorial
Defence Forces, the police and the general population. Within several days, units
of the federal army began disintegrating;
Belgrade threatened aerial bombardment
and total war. Belgrade apparently never
expected Slovenia to resist, believing that a
show of force would be sufficient. Since no
territorial claims or minority issues were
involved (unlike other republics in former
Yugoslavia), the Yugoslav government
agreed on 7 July to a truce brokered by
leaders of the European Community (EC).
The war had lasted just 10 days and taken
the lives of 66 people.

The Road to Europe


To everyones surprise, Belgrade announced
that it would withdraw the federal army from
Slovenian soil within three months, and did
so on 25 October 1991, less than a month
after Slovenia introduced its new currency,
the tolar. In late December, Slovenia got a
new constitution that provided for a parliamentary system of government. The head
of state, the president, is elected directly for
a maximum of two five-year terms. Milan
Kuan, the nations most popular politician, held that role from independence until
October 2000, when Prime Minister Janez
Drnovek was elected. Executive power is
vested in the prime minister Janez Jana
at the time of writing and his 17-member
cabinet.
The EC formally recognised Slovenia
on 15 January 1992, and it was admitted
to the UN four months later as the 176th
member-state.
Slovenia began negotiations for entry into
the EU in 1998 and, along with nine other
countries, was invited to join the union four
years later. In a referendum held in March
2003, an overwhelming 89.6% of the electorate voted in favour of Slovenias joining
the EU, and 66% approved its membership

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

332 S L O V E N I A H i s t o r y

in NATO. Slovenia became a full member


of the EU in May 2004.

PEOPLE
Slovenes are ethnically Slavic, typically
multilingual, friendly without being pushy,
and miraculously manage to combine a
Germanic work ethic with an easy-going,
Mediterranean joie de vivre.
Almost 90% of the population is ethnic
Slovene, with the remainder being Croat,
Serbian and Bosnian minorities and small,
long-term enclaves of Italians and Hungarians. Although always a relatively homogeneous population, the new government
of Slovenia took no chances after its independence, allegedly erasing up to 130,000
nonethnic Slovenes from public records.
The newly nonexistent found it impossible to get passports, health insurance and
state benefits. Bowing to EU pressure, the
government passed a law in 1999 allowing the victims of administrative cleansing

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to apply for citizenship. Only 14,000 applied. Some were unaware of the law; some
couldnt get their documents together to
meet the tough deadline; others had simply
given up and left the country.

RELIGION
Constitutionally, Slovenes are left free to
choose (and not obliged to publicly declare)
their religion. A 2003 survey estimated that
67.9% consider themselves at least nominally Catholic, 26% atheist or agnostic, 2.3%
Orthodox Christian and 1.2% Muslim. Although Sundays remain holy (ie shops
close), many locals prefer to use their uncluttered weekends to find spirituality through
mountain sports rather than by churchbound worship.

ARTS

Architecture
Fine examples of Romanesque architecture
can be found in many parts of Slovenia,

SLAVENAKIA
Lets get one thing straight. We are talking about Slovenia (formerly attached to ex-Yugoslavia)
not Slovakia (formerly attached to the Czech Republic) and certainly not Slavonia (now attached
to Croatia). First Slovenia declared independence, then Slavonia descended into war, then Slovakia
separated from Czechoslovakia. Confusion has reigned ever since. We wont name names but a
certain US presidential candidate in 2000 mixed up Slovenia and Slovakia, a certain Dutch diplomat visited Slavonia and lamented war-torn Slovenia, a certain major German weekly extolled
Czech spas in Slovenia and a certain major US daily moved Slovakia into Slovenias map position
on the Adriatic. Reports are that no less than 600 tons of mail addressed to Slovakia ends up in
Slovenia. Or maybe Slavonia. Since Slovenes are understandably sensitive about this issue, we
would like to highlight the major differences.

Slovenia

Slovakia

Slavonia

Capital
Official language
Call them
Borders

Ljubljana
Slovene (Slavic roots)
Slovenes
Austria & Italy

Bratislava
Slovak (Slavic roots)
Slovaks
Austria & Hungary

Mountaineering

in the Julian Alps

in the High Tatra

Menus include
Independence

trout
after tense 10-day standoff

trout & carp


after genteel divorce

Part of EU

as of 2004

as of 2004

Zagreb, Croatia
Croatian (Slavic roots)
Croatians
on Croatias eastern border with
Hungary, Serbia & Bosnia &
Hercegovina
no mountaineering,
no mountains
carp
part of independent Croatia
after violent convulsion & ethnic
cleansing
if & when Croatia is accepted

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including the churches at Stina Abbey and


at Podsreda Castle.
Much Gothic architecture in Slovenia is
of the late period; the earthquake of 1511
took care of many buildings erected before
then (although Kopers Venetian Gothic
Loggia and Praetorian Palace date back a
century earlier). Renaissance architecture
is mostly limited to civil buildings (eg the
town houses in kofja Loka and Kranj).
Italian-influenced baroque of the 17th
and 18th centuries abounds in Slovenia,
particularly in Ljubljana (eg the Cathedral
of St Nicholas). Classicism prevailed in
architecture here in the first half of the 19th
century; the Tempel pavilion in Rogaka
Slatina is a good example.
The turn of the 20th century was when
the secessionist (or Art Nouveau) architects
Maks Fabiani and Ivan Vurnik began changing the face of Ljubljana after the devastating earthquake of 1895. But no architect has
had a greater impact on his city or nation
than Joe Plenik (18721957), who cut
his professional teeth working on Pragues
Hradany Castle. Many of Ljubljanas most
characteristic features, including the Park
Tivoli and Ljubljanas idiosyncratic recurring
pyramid motifs, were his inspired design.

Literature
Far and away Slovenias best-loved writer is
romantic poet France Preeren (180049),
whose statue commands old Ljubljanas central square, Preernov trg. Preerens patriotic
yet humanistic verse was a driving force in
raising Slovene national consciousness. Fittingly a stanza of his poem Zdravlijca (The
Toast) is now the national anthem. It calls
for neighbourliness and an end to war, a very
marked contrast to the enemy-confounding
sentiment of Britains anthem. Visit www
.preseren.net/ang for English translations of
this and other works by Preeren.
In the latter half of the 19th century,
Fran Levstik (183187) brought the writing and interpretation of oral folk tales to
new heights with his Martin Krpan, legends
about the eponymous larger-than-life hero
of the Bloke Plateau in Notranjska. But it
was Josip Juri (184481) who published
the first full-length novel in Slovene, Deseti
Brat (The 10th Brother, 1866).
The period from the turn of the 20th century up to WWII is dominated by two men

S L O V E N I A A r t s 335

who single-handedly introduced modernism into Slovenian literature: the poet Oton
upani (18781949) and the novelist and
playwright Ivan Cankar (18761918). The
latter has been called the outstanding master of Slovenian prose. His works, notably Hia Marije Pomonice (The Ward of
Our Lady of Mercy) and Hlapec Jernej in
Njegova Pravica (The Bailiff Yerney and His
Rights), influenced a generation of young
writers.
Slovenian literature immediately before
and after WWII was influenced by socialist realism and the Partisan struggle,
as exemplified by the novels of Preihov
Voranc (18931950). Since then, Slovenia
has tended to follow Western European
trends: late expressionism, symbolism
(poetry by Edvard Kocbek, 190481) and
existentialism (novels by Vitomil Zupan,
191487, and the drama of Gregor Strnia,
193087). Contemporary writers and poets
making use of avant-garde techniques include Drago Janar (1948), Toma alamun
(1941) and Kajetan Kovi (1931).

Music
The conversion of the Slavs to Christianity
from the 8th century brought the development of choral singing the oldest Slovenian
spiritual song dates from 1440 in churches
and monasteries. Baroque music had gone
out of fashion by the time the Filharmonija
was founded in Ljubljana in 1701, and classicist forms had become all the rage. Belin,
the first Slovenian opera, was written by
Jakob Francisek Zupan in 1780, and Janez
Novak composed classicist music for a comedy written by Slovenias first playwright,
Anton Toma Linhart. The 19th-century
romantics like Benjamin Ipavec, Fran Gerbi
and Anton Foerster incorporated traditional
Slovenian elements into their music as a way
of expressing their nationalism. Perhaps
Slovenias best-known composer was Hugo
Wolf (18601903), born in Slovenj Gradec.
Slovenian music between the wars is
best represented by the expressionist Marij
Kogoj and the modernist Slavko Osterc.
Contemporary composers whose reputations go well beyond the borders of Slovenia
include Primo Ramov, Marjan Kozina,
Lojze Lebi and the ultramodernist Vinko
Globokar, who lives in Paris. Opera buffs
wont want to miss out on the chance to

SLOVENIA

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334 S L O V E N I A Pe o p l e

hear Marjana Lipovek, the countrys foremost mezzo-soprano.


Popular music runs the gamut from Slovenian chanson (song) and folk to jazz and
mainstream polka. However, it was punk
music in the late 1970s and early 1980s that
put Slovenia on the world stage. The most
celebrated groups were Pankrti, Borghesia and Laibach, and they were imitated
throughout Eastern Europe. (Laibachs
leader, Toma Hostnik, died tragically in
1983 when he hanged himself from a kozolec,
the traditional Slovenian hayrack.) The most
popular rock band in Slovenia at present is
Siddharta, which managed to fill Ljubljanas
30,000-seat Central Stadium 1.5% of the
national population! in September 2003.
Folk music (ljudska glasba) in Slovenia has
developed independently from other forms
of music over the centuries. Traditional folk
instruments include the frajtonarica (button
accordion), cymbalom (a curious stringed
instrument played with sticks), zither, zvegla
(wooden cross flute), okarina (a clay flute),
urle (Istrian double flute), trstenke (reed
pipes), Jews harp, loneni bajs (earthenware
bass) and bra (eight-string guitar).
One of the best commercial folk groups in
Slovenia is Katice. Another group definitely
worth checking out is Katalena, who play traditional Slovene music with a modern twist.
Brina & String.si combine the folk vocalist
Brina Vogelnik-Saje with the world-music
five-man String.si band. ukar plays traditional Balkan Roma (Gypsy) music. Terra
Folk is the quintessential world-music band.

Visual Arts
Examples of Romanesque fine art are rare
in Slovenia, surviving only in illuminated
manuscripts. Gothic painting and sculpture
is another matter, however, with excellent
works at Bohinj. Important painters of this
time were Johannes de Laibaco (John of
Ljubljana); Jernej of Loka, who worked
mostly around kofja Loka near Kranj; and
Johannes Aquila of Radgona.
For baroque sculpture, look at the work
of Francesco Robba in Ljubljana (Robba
fountain in Mestni trg). Fortunat Bergant,
who painted the Stations of the Cross in
the church at Stina Abbey, was a master
of baroque painting.
Classicism prevailed in Slovenian art
in the first half of the 19th century in the

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works of the painter Franc Kavi and


the romantic portraits and landscapes of
Josip Tominc and Matev Langus. Realism
arrived in the second half of the century in
the work of artists like Ivana Kobilca, Jurij
ubic and Anton Abe. The most important painters of that time, however, were
impressionists Rihard Jakopi, Matija Jama,
Ivan Grohar and Matej Sternen, who exhibited together in Ljubljana in 1900.
In the 20th century, the expressionist
school of Boidar Jakac and the brothers
France and Tone Kralj gave way to the socalled Club of Independents (the painters
Zoran Mui, Maksim Sedej and France
Miheli) and later the sculptors Alojzij
Gangl, Franc Berneker, Jakob Savinek and
Lojze Dolinar. The last two would later
create masterpieces of socialist realism
under Tito without losing their credibility
or (sometimes) their artistic sensibilities.
Favourite artists of recent years include
Janez Bernik, Rudi panzel (who designed
the tolar notes now in circulation) and Joe
Tisnikar from Slovenj Gradec.

ENVIRONMENT
The Land

Slovenia has a surface area of only 20,273


sq km. It borders Austria to the north and
Croatia to the south and southeast. Much
shorter frontiers are shared with Italy to the
west and Hungary to the northeast.
There are basically four topographical
regions. The Alps, including the Julian Alps,
the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Karavanke
chain and the Pohorje Massif, are to the
north and northeast. Spreading across their
entire southern side are the pre-Alpine hills
of Idrija, Cerkno, kofja Loka and Posavje.
The Dinaric karst lies below the hills and
encompasses the true or original Karst
plateau between Ljubljana and the Italian
border. The Slovenian littoral follows 47km
of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and the
essentially flat Pannonian plain spreads to
the east and northeast.
Much of the interior of Slovenia is drained
by the Sava (221km) and Drava (144km)
Rivers, both of which flow southeastward
and empty into the Danube. Other important rivers are the Soa to the west, which
flows into the Adriatic; the Mura in the
northeast; the Krka to the southeast; and the
Kolpa, which forms part of the southeast-

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ern border with Croatia. There are several


intermittent rivers (eg the Unica, Pivka
and Reka), which disappear into karst caves
and potholes, only to resurface elsewhere
under different names. Slovenias largest
natural lakes are Cerknica, which is dry for
part of the year, and Bohinj.
MAIN REGIONS

Slovenia has eight traditional krajine (regions): Gorenjska, Primorska, Notranjska,


Dolenjska, Bela Krajina, tajerska, Koroka
and Prekmurje.
Greater Ljubljana, by far the nations largest city and its capital, is pinched between
two groups of hills to the west and east and
the non-arable Ljubljana Marsh to the south.
Gorenjska, to the north and northwest of
the capital, is Slovenias most mountainous province and contains the countrys
highest peaks, including Triglav (2864m)
and krlatica (2740m). Primorska, a very
diverse region of hills, valleys, karst and a
short coastline on the northern end of the
Istrian peninsula, forms the countrys western
border, and the countryside feels Mediterranean. Notranjska, to the south and southeast
of Ljubljana, is an underdeveloped area of
forests and karst Slovenias last frontier.
Dolenjska lies south of the Sava River and
has several distinct areas, including the Krka
Valley, the hilly Koevje and also the remote
Posavje regions. Bela Krajina, a gentle land
of rolling hills, birch groves and folk culture
south of Dolenjska, is washed by the Kolpa
River. tajerska Slovenias largest region
stretches to the east and northeast and is
a land of mountains, rivers, valleys, vineyards and ancient towns. Maribor and Celje
are the centres and Slovenias second- and
third-largest cities respectively. Sitting north
of tajerska, little Koroka, with its centre at
Slovenj Gradec, is all that is left of the once
great historical province of Carinthia. Prekmurje, beyond the Mura River in Slovenias
extreme northeast, is basically a flat plain,
although there are hills to the north.
HABITATION

Slovenia is predominantly hilly or mountainous; about 90% of the surface is more


than 300m above sea level. Forest, some
of it virgin, and woodland cover more
than half of the country, making Slovenia
the greenest country in Europe outside

S L O V E N I A E n v i r o n m e n t 337

Finland and Sweden. Land under agricultural


use (pastures, fields, orchards, vineyards) is
rapidly diminishing as farms are abandoned
now accounts for less than 25%.
What has mushroomed in recent years
is the number of organic farms from just
41 in 1998 to 1150 in 2002 raising and
processing everything from cereals, dairy
products and meat to fruits and vegetables,
oils, nuts and wine. Only products inspected
and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Food may bear the governments ekoloki label or the organic farmers
union logo Biodar.
The population density of Slovenia is just
over 98 people per square kilometre, with
the urban-rural ratio being almost half and
half. The five largest settlements in Slovenia
are Ljubljana (269,800), Maribor (116,000),
Celje (40,000), Kranj (37,000) and Velenje
(26,750).

Wildlife
ANIMALS

Common European animals such as deer,


boar, chamois, brown bear, wolves and
lynx live in Slovenia in abundance, especially in the Alpine regions and the Koevje
region of Dolenjska. There are also some
rare species such as the moor tortoise, cave
hedgehog, scarab beetle and various types
of dormice. Two species unique to Slovenia
are the marbled Soa trout (Salmo trutta
marmoratus) and Proteus anguinus, a blind
salamander that lives in karst cave pools.
Slovenia also abounds in important habitats
for our feathered friends.
PLANTS

Slovenia is home to 3200 plant species, and


about 70 of them many in the Alps are
unique to Slovenia or were first classified
here. Triglav National Park is especially rich
in endemic flowering plants, including the
Triglav rose (actually a pink cinquefoil),
the blue Clusis gentian, yellow hawksbeard, Julian poppy, Carniola lily and the
purple Zois bellflower.

National Parks
About 8% of the countryside is protected
under law. Further statutes have already
been approved by parliament, and gradually almost a third of the territory will be
conservation area of some kind.

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336 S L O V E N I A E n v i r o n m e n t

At present, there is only one national


park the 83,807-hectare Triglav National
Park, which encompasses almost all of the
Julian Alps although proposals have been
made to set aside four more: in the KamnikSavinja Alps, the Pohorje Massif, the Karst
and the Koevje-Kolpa regions. There are
two regional parks (in the Kozjansko region
of southeast tajerska and the area around
the kocjan Caves in Primorska) and 40
designated as country (or landscape) parks.
These range in size from the 310-hectare
park and nature reserve on the Strunjan
Peninsula south of Izola in Primorska to the
pristine Logarska Dolina (2438 hectares) in
tajerska. There are also about 50 protected
nature reserves, including 200 hectares of
primeval forest in the Koevski Rog region
of Dolenjska, and more than 600 natural
heritage sites, such as tiny Wild Lake (Divje
Jezero) near Idrija in Primorska.

Environmental Issues
Although Slovenia is a very green country
in both senses of the word, pollution is a
problem here, and it is now being tackled
by the National Environment Protection
Program approved by parliament in 1999
and the Environmental Agency (Agencija
za Okolje) set up two years later.
Over the past two decades the biggest
concern has been air pollution. Nitrogen
oxide emitted by cars, between Gorenjska
and the coast in particular, were hurting the
pine forests of Notranjska and damaging
buildings and outdoor sculptures and other
artwork in many historical cities. Sulphur
dioxide levels were high in cities and towns
like otanj, Trbovlje and Ljubljana where
coal was the main fuel. The nations sole
nuclear power plant (at Krko in Dolenjska) provides about 40% of electric power,
but half of it is owned by Croatia, and Slovenia plans to stop using it by 2023.
Steps taken to clean up the mess which
include the construction of water-purifying
plants, monitoring of those companies discharging waste, installation of filters on
power plants and the introduction of gas
heating from 1985 to 2000 saw sulphur
dioxide emissions fall by almost 40% and
nitrogen oxide levels reduced by 20%.
The government has now shifted its
priorities to halt the overuse and pollution
of surface waters and the increasing problem

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of refuse disposal. The Sava, Mura and lower


Savinja Rivers are especially vulnerable, rain
has washed all sorts of filth dumped in the
Karst region underground, and waste carried
by the disappearing Unica and Ljubljanica
Rivers could threaten the Ljubljana Marsh.
Slovenia produces 1.2 million tonnes of
waste a year, almost half of it domestic,
much of which still ends up in illegal tips.

LJUBLJANA

FOOD & DRINK


Its relatively hard to find archetypal Slovene foods like likrofi (potato-filled ravioli)
in bakalca (lamb sauce), mlinci (corn-pasta
sheets in gravy) and ajdovi ganci (buckwheat groats). Inns (gostilna or gostie) or
restaurants (restavracija) more frequently
serve pizzas, riota (risotto), klobasa (sausage), zrezek (cutlet/steak), gola (goulash)
and paprika (stew). Fish (riba) meals are
sometimes priced by the dag (0.1kg). Trout
(postrv) generally costs half the price of
other fish, though grilled squid (lignji na
aru) doused in garlic butter is a ubiquitous
bargain at 1200SIT to 1500SIT per plate.
For favourites popular throughout the
region see p36.
Certain better restaurants ask 100SIT to
300SIT for bread/cover charge, and at some
of the cheapest it is customary to share
tables with other customers when things get
busy. Some restaurants have bargain-value
four-course dnevno kosilo (daily lunch)
menus, including juha (soup) and solata
(salad), for 1000SIT to 1600SIT. This can be
less than the price of a cheap main course,
and usually one option will be vegetarian.
Tap water is safe to drink. Distinctively
Slovenian wines (vino) include hearty red
Teran made from Refok grapes and the
light-red Cviek with a plummy sourness.
Slovenes are justly proud of their top vintages. However, cheaper bar-standard openwines (90SIT to 200SIT per glass) are often
pure gut-rot. Some fascinating suho (dry)
whites are made from sweet grapes like Tokaj
and Muskat but sladko and polsladko (sweet/
semisweet) wines can be very sugary indeed.
Beer (piva), whether svetlo (lager) or
temno (dark), is best on draught (toeno).
There are dozens of hard-hitting ganje
fruit liquors, including enovec (from cherries), sadjavec (apples), brinjevec (juniper),
hruka (pears) and slivovka (plums). Na
zdravje! (Cheers!).

%01 / pop 269,800

Inspiring Ljubljana (pronounced Loob-liyana) has a small but charming old core,
a vibrant street-caf culture, a buzzing
student community, and an alternativelifestyle centre at Metelkova. Viewed from
Ljubljana Castle, the less exciting skirt of
concrete suburbs is overshadowed by a
magnificent alpine horizon, which seems
to be almost leaping distance from the ramparts. Although the city may lack big-name
attractions, the great galleries, atmospheric
bars and varied, accessible nightlife make it
tempting to while away weeks here.

HISTORY
If the city really was founded by the Golden
Fleece-stealing Argonauts, they left no
proof of their sojourn. All that survives of
the later Roman city of Emona is a ragged
wall on Mirje ul, which was wrecked by the
Huns and rebuilt by Slavs. The city took
its present form (as Laibach) under the
Austrian Habsburgs, but it gained regional
prominence in 1809, when it became the
capital of Napoleons short-lived Illyrian
Provinces. Some fine Art Nouveau buildings filled up the holes left by an 1895
earthquake, and fortunately most later
20th-century development was relegated
to the suburbs. The brutal, concrete Trg
Republike is a marked exception.
LJUBLJANA IN TWO DAYS
Starting at Ljubljana Castle (p342), explore
the Old Town surrounding Preernov trg
(p343). Museum-hop from the National
Gallery (p343) to the Modern Art Museum
(p343). Have a traditional Slovene dinner
at Sokol (p346) and finish the day at lively
Metelkova (p343).
Next day stroll through Park Tivoli (p344)
to the Museum of Contemporary History
(p344), check out some of the areas art galleries, including the International Centre
of Graphic Arts (p344), and then return to
dine in the Old Town. Alternatively, do the
2pm Celica Hostel tour (p345), then hop
on the 4.15pm train for a four-hour sunset
excursion to Kamnik (p370).

L J U B L J A N A H i s t o r y 339

ORIENTATION
Preernov trg is the heart of Ljubljanas
delightful, if relatively small, old-town area,
which follows the northern and western
flanks of castle hill on both sides of the
Ljubljanica River. Walk 10 minutes north up
Mikloieva c to the bus and train stations.
Despite being called Ljubljana Aerodrome, the airport is actually at Brnik near
Kranj, some 23km north of Ljubljana.

Maps
Excellent free maps, some of which show
the complete bus network, are available from the various tourist information
offices. Even better are Kod-&-Kam maps,
sold at bookshops and Tourist Information
Centres (TICs).

INFORMATION
Bookshops

Geonavtik (www.geonavtik.com in Slovene; Kongresni


trg 1; h8.30am-8.30pm Mon-Fri, to 3pm Sat) Stocks
Lonely Planet guides.
Kod-&-Kam (Trg francoske revolucije 7; h9am-7pm
Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm Sat) Map specialist.

Internet Access
Web connection is available at many hostels and hotels, plus the following:
Kotiek (Bus station; per 10min 100SIT; h7am-8.30pm)
Napotnica.com (Trg Ajdovina 1; per 15min 200SIT;
h8am-11pm) Small caf in the city centre mini-mall
above the Pelican Pub.
Xplorer (Petkovkovo nab 23; per 5min 110SIT, per hr
800SIT; h9am-11pm Mon-Fri, 1-11pm Sat & Sun) Good
connection, plus discounts of 20% before noon, and 10%
for students.

Laundry
Washing machines are available, even to
nonguests, at the Celica Hostel (see the
boxed text, p345) for 1200SIT per load,
including powder.

Left Luggage
Bus station (320SIT; h5am-8.30pm)
Train station (400SIT or 2; h24hr) Coin lockers on
platform No 1.

Medical Services
Klinini Center (%232 30 60; Bohorieva 9; h24hr)
Emergency clinic.

Zdravstveni Dom Center (%472 37 00; Metelkova 9;


h7.30am-7pm) Non-emergency doctors.

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

338 S L O V E N I A F o o d & D r i n k

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L J U B L J A N A 341

0
0

LJUBLJANA

To Embassy of Bosnia &


Herzegovina (1.3km);
Prenoia Beigrad
(1.5km); Embassy of
New Zealand (2.5km)

To Dijaki Dom ika (1.4km);


Romanian Embassy (1.6km);
Hungarian Embassy (5km);
Ljubljana Aerodrome (Brnik
Airport, 23km); Bled (55km)

30

To Dijaki
Dom
Beigrad
(2km);

a c

ajsk

Dun

200 m
0.1 miles

Vilharjeva c

Park
Tivoli

ka c

Barjans

a c

Emonsk

ka c

Zoisova c

57

vi

lkova

Maistro

ul

rska

ova ul

va c

Reslje

Kotnik

a ul

Hrvatski
trg

Zaloka c

Vrazov trg

St Peter's
Bridge

sip
Poljanski na

Ambroev
trg

ul

Ul Ja

neza

alcev

II

Ul T

Pavla

rjeva

maye

66

Poljan

Church of
St Joseph

a u
l

ska

ikov

To Ljubljana
Youth Hostel (2km)

43

Zarn

ul

Lipieva ul

Pe
i c a tkov
ko
v
na
sip R i v o n
e r ab

ka c

26

73
Kleparska steza
Vodna steza
60

Bohoriev

Vrhoveva ul

Rozmanova ul

Kolo

ul

Mala

ul

trg

Old
Town

Pod Trano

Tennis

72
ul
eber

Poljane

rnji

ara

trg

Karl

ovk

a c

novi

rad

aG

Ul n

eva

Ro

Go

ka

55

87

To Manna
(200m)

50
Poljans

Stross

Cankarjevo

nab

Mestni

Castle Hill
(376m)

R
ul on
a

ika ul

Vitna ul

Barjans

Ri v e r

Krievn

Kapiteljska ul

ski

38

Krojaska ul

Zvezdarska
ul

Krakovo

ul

a c

Miklo

101

Krakovski nasip

a c

jev

har

33

lfov

Wo

ska ul

Breg

Emonska c

Salendrova ul

ul

ska c

Sloven

10

Dolniarieva ul 16
21
Krekov
56
trg
ul
ka
tovs
tuden

l ja
n

Poljan

ka

82

Trg
francoske
revolucije

28

L jub

li

Novi trg

35

Mirje

Ljubljana

ka ul

re

a c

Turja

b
ovo na
-Lundr
Adami
Vodnikov
trg

Zmajski Most
(Dragon Bridge)

Trubarjeva c

St

rev

Gro

Ake

ul

88 Juriev
trg

trg

a c

To Postojna (52km);
Koper (116km);
Novo Gorica (112km)

54
48

71

Stari

Rimsk

eva

nab
40

el

ka

ols

ak

ori

anska
evlj ul

Tiv

Greg

Trg
mladiniskih
delovnih
brigad

84

78

Cobbler
Bridge 11
76
65

52

80
79
Kljuavniarska

83

61

Gospo

ri

Ig

ul

oska

eva

Gosp

ori

ac

va u
l

ern

Greg

ul

Dvorni trg
27

Vego

ova

ev

34

85

Castle Tunn

ul

Pre

aa

24

53

Erja

L ju b l ja n i ca

a c

va c

Vrt

Tr

ensk

Slov

Erjave

70

Gallusovo nabreje

Slov

ikov

93

Triple Bridge
(Tromostovje)
39
Pogararjev
trg
17
a
v
o
k
Ma
trg
dov
Ribji
eto
trg
68
il M
r
i
C
74

Ilirska ul

kovo
22

a u
l

58

ul

92

ka

ul

6
91
ubi
ev
89
Subway a ul
Kongresni
77
trg

idovska
ul

75

ul

va c

od

sk

an

vd

19

kov

47

o
id

Petkov

va

To
Ljubljana
Zoo (2km)

Preernov
trg
36

preh

ba

Tru

25

a
jev

arje

ve

Kna90
fljev

Mali trg

49

a u
l
51

46

Erja

pov

ani

up

a u
l

Trg
Republike

ul

13

va u 45
l

Strit

lova

96

a ul

Rozmanova ul

iev
a ul
98

Prisojn

Jen

Tabor

Tabor

Bavarska steza

Lest

Tom

iev

Vese

orje

va c

ul

Tabor

44

arjeva

ub

Naz

karje

ul

81

63

23

ul

Kopit

Trg
narodnih
herojev

59

Za
om
resl

Muz

32

15

a c

a ul

a ul

ul

Kome
nskeg
a

42

Center

Can

rjeva

Mikloiev
86
Park
va u
16
l

12

eva

va

iev

ejsk

ka

ols

Tom

Pre

a ul Tiv

102

erno

18

va c

a ul

ufa

na
Pre ul

Park
Tivoli

ul

karje

kov

a ul

iev

nova

va u

Can

tefa

Slom

atino

Park
Ajdovina

ensk

31

ovno

29

To Polish
Embassy (1.1km);

arjev

Dalm

Beeth

jali

Pre

vo sp
reha

Tav

Park Argentinski
Trg
Ajdovina
slovenske Park
reforme

ul

ihov

pie

va

Levstikov
trg

arje

va ul

ac

100

ka

Tiv

Puh

a ul

Jako

ols

To Tivoli Mansion,
International Centre of
Graphic Arts (25m)

vec u
l

62

iev

ul

Friko

97

41

dvo

Mete

letov

ova

99

64

Miklo

tsk

14

Ciga

a c

ensk

Trdin

Slov

ve

20

a ul

a ul

ul

va

niko

Kers

sp

os

akov

rsk

ul

va u
l

jako

106

Go

Metelkova

Pra

Njegoeva c

Park
Tivoli

95 94

ova u
l

Von

108

lga

104

Dvorak

m
art
ins
ka

Bo

Masarykova c

105

blo

37

a ul
ev

103

Pedestrian underpass
Vilharjev podhod

Gra

lov

Ce

ka
ols
Tiv

Ljubljana
Train
Station

18
107
Trg Osvobodilne Fronte

ul

67

kop

69

ev

erj

ub
Gr

To Croatian Embassy (800m)

Ljubljana

pre

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

340 L J U B L J A N A

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INFORMATION
American Embassy.................................. 1 B4
Australian Consulate............................... 2 B4
Belgian Embassy...................................(see 2)
British Embassy.....................................(see 2)
Canadian Consulate............................... 3 D2
Currency Exchange Booth..................(see 18)
Currency Exchange Booth................(see 105)
Dutch Embassy....................................... 4 E4
French Embassy...................................... 5 B6
Geonavtik.............................................. 6 C4
German Embassy.................................... 7 B4
Gorenska Banka..................................... 8 D3
Irish Embassy........................................(see 4)
Klinini Center....................................... 9 H3
Kod&Kam............................................ 10 C6
Kotiek.............................................(see 105)
Ljubljanska Banka................................. 11 D5
Napotnice.com...................................... 12 C3
Post Office........................................... 13 C4
Roza Klub...........................................(see 99)
South African Consulate....................... 14 D2
STA Ljubljana....................................... 15 D3
STIC...................................................... 16 E4
TIC...................................................... 17 D4
TIC Branch Office.................................. 18 E1
Xplorer................................................. 19 E4
Zdravstveni Dom Center...................... 20 G2
SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES
Cathedral of St Nicholas........................ 21
Colonnade............................................ 22
Ethnographic Museum......................... 23
Filharmonija......................................... 24
Franciscan Church of the Annunciation..25
Ljubljana Castle..................................... 26
Ljubljana University.............................. 27
Market.................................................. 28
Modern Art Museum............................ 29
Museum of Contemporary History........ 30
National Gallery.................................... 31
National Museum................................. 32
Pyramid Gateway................................. 33
Robba Fountain.................................... 34

E4
E4
G3
D5
D4
E5
C5
E4
B3
A1
B3
B4
B6
D5

Roman Walls........................................ 35
Statue of France Preeren..................... 36
Tivoli Recreation Centre....................... 37
Town Hall............................................ 38
Triple Bridge (Tromostovje).................. 39
Zmajski Most (Dragon Bridge).............. 40

A6
D4
A2
D5
D4
E4

SLEEPING
Celica Hostel........................................ 41
Cityhotel Turist.....................................42
Dijaka Dom Ivana Cankarja.................43
Dijaki Dom Tabor................................44
Grand Hotel Union Executive............... 45
Hotel Emonec...................................... 46
Park Hotel ............................................47
Pri Mraku............................................. 48

G2
D3
G5
F3
D4
D4
F3
C6

EATING
Ajdovo Zrno......................................... 49 D4
Alamut Orient House............................50 F4
Cantina Mexicana................................ 51 C4
Cerin.....................................................52 F4
Delikatesen Ljubljana Dvor................... 53 C5
Foculus.................................................54 C5
Gostilna Pri Pavli.................................. 55 D6
Gostilna Vodnikov Hram.......................56 E4
Harambaa .......................................... 57 C6
Hot Horse.............................................58 E4
Joe Pena's............................................ 59 C3
Julija.................................................... 60 D5
Ljubljanski Dvor ...................................61 D5
Market Tabor........................................62 F2
Napoli.................................................. 63 D3
Nobel Burek......................................... 64 D2
Oriental Caf.....................................(see 41)
Paninoteka .......................................... 65 D5
Pinki .................................................... 66 G5
Pri Sv Florijanu..................................... 67 D6
Sokol.................................................... 68 D4
Taverna Tatjana....................................69 E6
ivila................................................... 70 D5
DRINKING
BiKoFe..................................................71 C5

Money
There are ATMs at every turn, including
in both the train and bus stations, where
youll also find currency exchange booths
(h6am-10pm). Dozens of banks have ATMs
and change money:
Gorenska Banka (Dalmatinova 4; h9am-11.30am
& 2-5pm Mon-Fri, 8am-11am Sat) Pseudo Art Nouveau
furnishings make amends for the travesty of this banks
faade, which mars the architectural splendour of
Mikloiev Park. Exchanges travellers cheques.
Ljubljanska Banka (Mestni trg 16; h8am-noon &
2.30-4.30pm) Handily central ATM.

Post
Post office (Slovenska c 32; h7am-8pm Mon-Fri,
to 1pm Sat) Holds poste restante mail for 30 days.

Tourist Information
All three TICs have great free maps, themed
brochures, tips and events listings.
Ljubljana Tourist Information Centre (TIC; www
.ljubljana-tourism.si) Stritarjeva 2 (%306 12 15; h8am9pm Jun-Sep, to 7pm Oct-May); train station (%433
94 75; h8am-10pm Jun-Sep, to 7pm Oct-May) This
Ljubljana

Caf Antico.......................................... 72
Cajna Hia............................................ 73
CN7 Patisserie...................................... 74
Cutty Sark............................................ 75
Fraga Gallery-Bar................................. 76
Makalonca........................................... 77
Maek................................................. 78
Minimal............................................... 79
Movia Vinoteka................................... 80
Patricks................................................81
Petit Caf............................................. 82
Pr'skelet............................................... 83
Roza.....................................................84
Salon.................................................... 85
Sir William's ........................................ 86
Slaiarna Pri Vodnjaku...................... 87
Zlata Ladjica......................................... 88
Zvezda................................................. 89

D6
D5
D5
C4
D5
D4
D5
D5
D5
E3
C6
D5
C5
E4
D3
D6
D5
D4

ENTERTAINMENT
As........................................................ 90 C4
Bacchus................................................ 91 C4
Cankarjev Dom.....................................92 B5
Cankarjev Dom Ticket Office................93 B5
Club Tiffany......................................... 94 G2
Gala Hala............................................. 95 G2
Global.................................................. 96 C4
Gromka................................................ 97 G2
Jazz Club Gajo .................................... 98 C4
K4........................................................ 99 C2
Kinoteka & Marilyn Caffe................... 100 D2
Krianke............................................ 101 C6
Monokel Club....................................(see 94)
Opera House......................................102 B3
Orto Bar............................................. 103 H1
TRANSPORT
Bicycle Hire Kiosk...............................(see 78)
Bus 09 to Ljubljana Youth Hostel........104 E2
Bus Station..........................................105 E2
Buses towards Dijaki Dom ika........ 106 C2
Hertz...................................................107 E1
Hotel Lev (Bicycle Hire)...................... 108 C2
Tourist Tram.......................................(see 36)

centres three-day Ljubljana Card (3000SIT) gives free city


transport and various discounts, but only big museum fans
will recoup the cost. A new service handles ticketing for
all the citys cultural events, including festivals, concerts,
sporting events and fairs. The branch office is located at
the train station.
Slovenian Tourist Information Centre (STIC;
%306 45 75; www.slovenia-tourism.si; Krekov trg 10;
h8am-9pm Jun-Sep, to 7pm Oct-May) Internet and
bicycle hire available. Also, a free basic course in Slovenian
is offered each Wednesday from 5pm to 6.30pm.

Travel Agencies
STA Ljubljana (%439 16 90; Trg Ajdovina Mall;
h10am-1pm & 2-5pm Mon-Fri) Offers discount airfares
for students.

SIGHTS

Old Town
Ljubljana Castle (Ljubljanski Grad) crowns
an abrupt, wooded hill that forms the citys
focal point. Its an architectural mishmash,
including early-16th-century walls, a 1489
chapel and a 1970s concrete caf. Admission to the central courtyard and some

www.lonelyplanet.com

north-facing ramparts is free. However,


there are even better 360-degree views from
the 19th-century tower (adult/student 790/490SIT;
h10am-6pm Tue-Sun), and visits include an
excellent virtual museum. Don your 3-D
spectacles and fly around the Ljubljana of
various historical epochs. Reaching the castle takes about 15 minutes, either on foot
or by taking the hourly tourist tram (adult/child
550/350SIT; h9am-9pm) from Preernov trg.
Preernov trg is Ljubljanas central square,
with the pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation (1660) and a statue (1905) of national
poet France Preeren. Furtively observing
Preeren from a fake window on Wolfova
is a bust of his unrequited love (and poetic
inspiration), Julija Primic (Primicova).
Wander north of the square to admire
the fine Art Nouveau buildings of Mikloieva
c, including the still-grand Grand Hotel
Union Executive (p345). Built in 1905, the
hotel was commandeered during WWI for
use as the command centre for the Soa/
Isonzo-front campaign. Today it retains
many elements of Jugendtstil style, including the Blue meeting room, the Unionska
Klet cellar-restaurant, and a sweeping interior stone stairway with splendid original
brass lantern stands.
South of Preernov trg you cross the small
but much celebrated Triple Bridge (Tromostovje). The original 1842 span had two
side bridges added in 1931 by Ljubljanas
superstar architect Joe Plenik (who also
plonked the curious Pyramid Gateway on top
of the citys minimal Roman Walls at Mirje
ul, southwest of the centre). A baroque
Robba Fountain stands before the Gothic
Town Hall (1718) in Mestni trg, which leads
south into Stari trg and Gornji trg. These
squares wind picturesquely around the
castle bluff delightfully sprinkled with
cafs, they are arguably Ljubljanas greatest
overall attraction.
East of the Triple Bridge, the 1708 Cathedral of St Nicholas (Stolnica; h8am-noon & 3-7pm) is
filled with a riot of splendid frescoes (partly
hidden during ongoing renovation at the
time of research). To get inside, heave open
what appear to be superheavy bronze sculptures, but which, on closer inspection, turn
out to be the doors. Behind the cathedral is a
lively market (hclosed Sun) selling all kinds of
stuff, a Plenik colonnade and the 1901 Dragon
Bridge (Zmajski Most), a bridge guarded by

L J U B L J A N A S i g h t s 343

cute verdigris dragons which have become


city mascots.
The grand if rather pompous main building of Ljubljana University (Kongresni trg 12) was
formerly the regional parliament (1902).
The more restrained Filharmonija (% 241
0800; Kongresni trg 10) dates from an 1898
reconstruction, despite the prominent 1701
plaque. Its home to the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra.

City Centre
Of the major galleries and museums west
of Slovenska c, the best are the impressive National Gallery (%241 54 34; www.ng-slo
.si; Preernova c 24; adult/student 800/600SIT, Sat afternoon
free; h10am-6pm Tue-Sun), and the vibrant but

outwardly drab 1940s Modern Art Museum


(%251 41 06; www.mg-lj.si; Cankarjeva c 15; adult/student
1000/700SIT; h10am-6pm Tue-Sat, to 1pm Sun).
The National Museum (%241 44 04; www.nar
muz-lj.si; Muzejska 1; adult/student 1100/800SIT; h10am6pm Fri-Wed, 10am-8pm Thu) occupies an elegant

1888 building that was recently renovated.


The archaeological collection ranges from
prehistoric objects to Slavic jewellery, the
19th-century throne of Archduke Charles
and mementos from WWI. Other galleries
include a coin collection and an extensive
collection of graphics.

Metelkova
An ex-army garrison taken over by squatters after independence, Metelkova is now a
somewhat daunting, free-living commune
a miniature version of Copenhagens Christiania. To really feel Metelkova (which is
around 500m east of the train station), visit
the nightclubs after midnight (see p348).
Even if youre staying there, a free 2pm tour
of Metelkovas ultrahip Celica Hostel (p345)
is intriguing, especially on Tuesday and
Wednesday when you usually get to meet
one of the architects. Sadly, as of the time
of research, the authorities have announced
plans to close some Metelkova structures.
Naturally, there are petitions against it. See
www.metelkova.org/indexe.htm for the latest developments and to register your protest, if you like.
The Ethnographic Museum (%432 54 03; www
.etno-muzej.si; Metelkova 2) has a very extensive
collection, but was still undergoing renovation at the time of research. Meanwhile,
theres a temporary exhibit devoted to

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

342 L J U B L J A N A S i g h t s

ethnographic museums in Europe on the


1st floor and a look at contemporary and
folk design on the 2nd floor.

Park Tivoli
You can reach Tivoli, the citys leafy playground laid out in 1813 and measuring 5
sq km, via an underpass from Cankarjeva
c. Straight ahead, at the end of Jakopievo
sprehajalie, the monumental Jakopi Promenade designed by Plenik in the 1920s and
30s, is the 17th-century Tivoli Mansion (Tivolski Grad), which now contains the International Centre of Graphic Arts (Mednarodni Grafini
Likovni Center, MGLC; % 241 38 18; www.mglc-lj.si;
Pod turnom 3; adult/student 800/400SIT; h11am-6pm
Wed-Sun), with new exhibitions every three

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the central office of the public transport


authority LPP (Celovka c 160; bus 1 to
Remiza stop). You can also join it from the
northwestern side of ale Cemetery (bus 19
to Nove ale stop) Ljubljanas own Pre
Lachaise or Highgate or south of Trnovo
(bus 19 to Veliki tradon stop). These buses
all leave from the bus station near the train
station.

Swimming & Sauna


Tivoli Recreation Centre (%431 51 55; Celovka c 25)
in Park Tivoli has an indoor swimming pool
(open September to May), a fitness centre,
clay tennis courts and a roller-skating rink
(which becomes an ice rink from midAugust to February). It also has a popular
sauna called Zlati Klub (Gold Club; morning 2100SIT,

months. The centre hosts the International


Biennial of Graphic Arts in odd-numbered
years (see opposite).
The Museum of Contemporary History (Muzej

afternoon 2400SIT; h10am-8pm Mon, Wed, Thu & Sun men


only, 10am-10pm Tue women only, 10am-midnight Fri & Sat
mixed) with saunas, steam room, splash pools

Noveje Zgodovine; % 300 96 10; www.muzej-nz.si;


Celovka c 23; adult/child 2-14, student & senior 500/300SIT,
free Sun; h10am-6pm), housed in the 18th-

and outside swimming pool surrounded by


high walls so you can sunbathe au naturel.
Towels are an extra 500SIT.

century Cekin Mansion (Cekinov Grad)


just northeast of the Tivoli Recreation
Centre, traces the history of Slovenia in
the 20th century through multimedia. The
gloriously baroque Ceremonial Hall (Room
F) is how the whole mansion once looked.
Note the contrast between the sober earnestness of the communist-era Room G and the
exuberant, logo-mad commercialism of the
neighbouring industrial exhibit in Room H.
A portrait of Stalin lies discarded behind
the door between the two.
The 45-hectare Ljubljana Zoo (ivalski Vrt
Ljubljana; %244 21 88; www.zoo-ljubljana.si in Slovene;
Vena pot 70; adult/child 2-14 1100/700SIT; h9am-7pm
Tue-Sun Jun-Aug, 9am-4pm Tue-Sun Sep-May), on the

southern slope of Ronik Hill (394m), contains 500 animals representing 120 species.
Theres also a petting zoo for children.

ACTIVITIES
Hiking

The marked Trail of Remembrance (Pot Spominov), which runs for 34km around the city
where German barbed wire once completely enclosed Ljubljana during WWII, is
popular with walkers and joggers. The easiest places to reach the trail are from AMZS
headquarters on Dunajska c 128 (catch
bus 6, 8 or 21 to AMZS stop) or from Trg
Komandanta Staneta just northwest of

TOURS

Guided city tours (adult/student 1550/800SIT) start


from in front of the Town Hall. At the time
of writing, departures of English-language
tours were 6pm (May to September) and
10am (October to April), but times vary
year by year; check with the TIC.
A one-hour river-boat tour makes a
pleasant summer outing. Boats leave at
6.30pm (weather permitting) from the Ribji
trg pier, just southwest of the TIC.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS


The number-one event on Ljubljanas social
calendar is the Ljubljana Summer Festival (www
.festiva-lj.si), a summer celebration of music,
opera, dance and street theatre held in venues throughout the city, but principally in
the open-air theatre at the Krianke (%252
65 44; Trg francoske revolucije) originally a 13thcentury monastic complex. The festival,
now in its fifth decade, runs from early July
to late August.
Druga Godba (Other Music; www.drugagodba.si)
A festival of alternative and world music; takes place in
the Krianke in early June.
Vino Ljubljana An international wine fair held in early
June at the Ljubljana Fairgrounds (Ljubljanski Sejem;
www.ljubljanski-sejem.si; Dunajska c 10) north of the
train station.

www.lonelyplanet.com

International Biennial of Graphic Arts (www.mglc


-lj.si) At the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Park
Tivoli, the Modern Art Museum and several other venues;
held from mid-June to September in odd-numbered years.
Ljubljana Jazz Festival (www.cd-cc.si) At the Krianke
in late June; has been taking place for 45 years.
Summer in the Old Town Ljubljana is at its most
vibrant in July and August during the so-called Summer in the Old Town season when there are four or five
free cultural events a week in the citys historic squares,
courtyards and bridges. Contact the tourist office for more
information.
Trnfest (www.kud-fp.si) An international festival of alternative arts and culture organised by KUD France Preeren;
takes place in Trnovo in late July and August.
Young Lions (Mladi Levi; bunker@siol.net) A 10-day
festival of theatre and dance held in late August.
City of Women (www.cityofwomen-a.si) Held in October
in venues throughout Ljubljana; showcases all forms of
artistic expression by women.
Ljubljana Marathon (www.slo-timing.com) Starts and
ends in Kongresni trg; held on the last Saturday in October.

SLEEPING
Ljubljana is not overendowed with accommodation choices. The selection following
includes all of the central budget and midrange options. The TICs have comprehensive
details of other hotels further out in the suburbs, of similarly inconvenient private rooms
and of the four other central top-end hotels,
all of which charge over 140 for a double.

Old Town
Hotel Emonec (%200 15 20; www.hotel-emonec.com;
Wolfova 12; s/d 49/59; pi) The dcor is coldly
modern but everything is gleamingly clean
and you cant beat the central location. A
THE AUTHORS CHOICE

Celica Hostel (% 230 97 00; www.souhostel


.com; Metelkova 8; dm/s/d 3750/9500/10,500SIT;
nis) Even if youre not in the habit
of staying in hostels, Celica is the place to
make an exception. Who would think of
turning a military prison into a hostel and
getting different architects to design each
cell? The result is a highly original survey
of design styles, including everything from
Finnish modern to traditional Slovenian. Its
not The Ritz but the comfort level is more
than adequate for the price and you can
experience prison without imprisonment.

L J U B L J A N A S l e e p i n g 345

TV and Internet access in every room are


unusual niceties for the price, making this
hotel excellent value for money.

City Centre
Pri Mraku (%433 40 49; www.daj-dam.si/ang/Mrak
/mrakmain.htm; Rimska c 4; s/d from 58.80/71.80) Above
a well-respected but misleadingly dowdylooking restaurant of the same name, this
hotel offers inviting rooms with all the
creature comforts: great value for such an
ideal location. Higher-priced rooms have
air-con.
Grand Hotel Union Executive (%308 12 70; www
.gh-union.si; Mikloieva c 1; s 136-165, d 145-177, ste
300; a) Although not the capitals most

expensive hotel, the Union is nonetheless


its star address, thanks to the great 1905
architecture and perfect position. For all
the Art Nouveau flourishes, including brilliant brass lantern stands on sweeping stone
stairways, be sure to choose the executive
section. The slightly cheaper business
section is a comfortable but entirely functional later addition.
Park Hotel (%433 13 06; www.hotelpark.si; Tabor
9; s/d 53/70; p) In a handily central if rather
uninviting area, this tower-block hotel is
central Ljubljanas best-value midrange
choice. Pleasant, well-renovated standard
rooms are bright and unpretentiously well
equipped. Cheaper rooms have ensuite
toilet but share showers.
Cityhotel Turist (City Hotel, Hotel Turist; %432 91
30; www.hotelturist.si; Dalmatinova 15; s/d from 57/109;
a) When they offer you a small room

here, theyre not joking. This functionally


businesslike property has recently had a
much-needed modernisation, but the only
compelling attraction remains its position.
The nearby Park Hotel is less polished but
better value.
Several fairly spartan student hostels with
shared bathrooms only accept travellers during midsummer. Breakfast is not included.
The most central are Dijaki Dom Tabor (%234
88 40; ssljddta1s@guest.arnes.si; dm 17-20; hJul-Aug),
entered from Kotnikova ul, and Dijaki Dom
Ivana Cankarja (%474 86 00; dd.lj-ic@guest.arnes.si;
Poljanska c 26B; s/d/tr 3960/6520/8580SIT; hJul) with
10% student discounts. Ignore the misleading sign on the door of Poljanska c 26: the
actual entrance is from the western side of
block B. The correct doorway faces onto a
tennis court.

SLOVENIA

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344 L J U B L J A N A A c t i v i t i e s

Outer Suburbs
Prenoia Beigrad (%231 15 59; www.prenocisca
-bezigrad.com; Podmilakova 51; s/d/tr without breakfast
8000/11,000/14,000SIT) Bright, well-equipped

new rooms off hospital-style corridors


are good value, despite the road noise and
semi-industrial location, 2km north of the
centre (catch bus 14).
Ljubljana Youth Hostel (BIT Center Hotel;
%548 00 55; www.bit-center.net; Litijska 57; dm/s/d
13/28.50/40, breakfast 3.50; p ) Stylish new

HI bunk-dorms and functionally modern


ensuite rooms are attached to the large BIT
sports centre 3km east of the centre. Take
bus 9 from opposite the bus and train stations to the Emona bus stop, walk 250m
further east, turn north onto Pesarska c, then
immediately right through an expansive
car park.
North of the centre are the less convenient
Dijaki Dom Beigrad (%534 28 67; dd.lj-bezigrad@
guest.arnes.si; Kardeljeva pl 28; dm from 12; hJul-Aug),
which you can reach on bus 6, and Dijaki
Dom ika (%500 78 04; www.ddsiska.com; Aljaeva
32; dm adult/student 11/9; hJun-Aug) near pointytowered Sv Franiek Church (Verovkova
ul). Take bus 1, 3, 15 or 16 west-bound to the
Stara Cerkev stop, walk 500m due north on
Aljaeva, and the hostel is on your right.

EATING
The Old Town has plenty of appealing
restaurants, though the choice here isnt
quite as overwhelming as that of cafs. For
cheaper options you can try Poljanska c or
the dull but functional snack bars around
the stations.

Old Town
Pri Sv Florijanu (%251 22 14; Gornji trg 20; meals from
1900SIT; hnoon-11pm) This top-rate restaurant,
housed in an old building with a stylishly
modern interior, is famed for its creative
nouveau-Slovene cuisine. Come before 4pm
and you can choose three-course vegetarian, fish or meat menus for just 1900SIT.
Or venture downstairs (open from 6pm),
and you are atmospherically transported to
North Africa for Moroccan food or a puff
on a water pipe.
Gostilna Vodnikov Hram (%234 52 60; Vodnikov
trg 2; meals from 1700SIT; h8am-8pm Mon-Sat, food to
4pm) Vegetarian and meaty lunch specials

are a bargain at 780SIT to 1100SIT in this


inviting vaulted pub.

www.lonelyplanet.com

www.lonelyplanet.com

Ajdovo Zrno (%041 690 478; Trubarjeva c 7; meals


from 1000SIT) Right in the centre of town, this

Alamut Orient House (%031 545 595; Poljanska c


7; meals from 1500SIT; h8am-10pm Mon-Sat) Persian

cheery hangout serves no meat, fish or eggs


and has a yummy salad bar.
Julija (%425 64 63; Stari trg 9; meals from 1400SIT;
h8am-10pm, caf to midnight) At Julija, rissotos and pastas are served outside or in a
pseudo-Delft tiled back room behind a caf
decorated with 1920s prints.
Gostilna Pri Pavli (%425 92 75; Stari trg 1; pizzas
from 900SIT, meals from 1500SIT; h6am-11pm) This
attractive, country-style inn serves Slovene
food thats unspectacular, but surprisingly
affordable for such a perfect location. Service is homely, if slow, and the atmosphere
calmly sedate.
Sokol (%439 68 55; Ciril Metodov trg 18; meals from
2500SIT; h6am-11pm) In this old vaulted house,
traditional Slovene food is served on heavy
tables by costumed waiters, who stop just
short of Disneyesque self-parody. Pizzas
and vegetarian options are available if sausage and groats dont appeal. Even if you
think youd hate blood pudding, the country
feast platter may pleasantly surprise you.
Taverna Tatjana (%421 00 87; Gornji trg 38; fish

rugs and Lurish swords decorate this cosy


little Iranian restaurant, whose 1400SIT
lunch menus are popular with intellectuals
and vegetarians. Subtle herbs and yogurt
are used to masterful effect in the 1200SIT
polnjen malancan (stuffed aubergine).
Manna (% 283 52 94; Eippova 1a; meals from
3500SIT; h noon-midnight Mon-Sat) Plush red
interiors with Klimt prints and a tempting
Viennese bar area make this the most stylishly upmarket of several eateries and pubs
along an attractive tree-shaded stretch of
canal, a short walk south of the city centre.
Try the rocket dumplings with scampi and
saffron (1500SIT).
Joe Penas (%421 50 00; Cankarjeva c 6; meals

per kg 6000-20,000SIT, garnish extra 600SIT; h5pmmidnight) Looking like an old-world wooden-

beamed cottage pub, this is actually a rather


exclusive fish restaurant with a tiny, brilliant two-seat bar for your apritif. As you
leave, the view from the doorway is one of
Ljubljanas most picturesque.
Delikatesen Ljubljana Dvor (Gosposka ul; pizza
slices 250-350SIT; h9am-midnight Mon-Sat) Locals
queue for huge, bargain pizza slices, salads
and sold-by-weight braised vegetables to
takeaway or stand and eat.
Paninoteka (Juriev trg 3; sandwiches 450-650SIT;
h8am-1am Mon-Sat, 9am-11pm Sun) Healthy sandwich creations on olive ciabatta are sold here
to takeaway or to eat outside on a lovely
little square with castle views.
A good pizzeria is the riverfront Ljubljanski
Dvor (%251 65 55; Dvorni trg 1; pizzas from 850SIT;
h10am-midnight Mon-Sat, 1-11pm Sun).
The minimarket ivila (Kongresni trg 9; h7am9pm) is open even on Sunday.

City Centre
Harambaa (%041 675 155; Vrtna 8; meals from 1500SIT;
h10am-10pm Mon-Fri, noon-10pm Sat, noon-6pm Sun)
Here youll find Bosnian cuisine served at
low tables in a charming modern cottage
atmosphere with quiet Balkan music.

from 2500SIT; h 10am-1am Mon-Sat, noon-midnight


Sun) Lazily whirring ceiling fans, earth-tone

walls and wooden floors create plenty of


atmosphere at Joe Penas, Ljubljanas best,
mood-lit Mexican restaurant.
Cantina Mexicana (%426 93 25; Knafljev prehod;
h11am-late) This luridly colourful Mexican
place has a fabulous terrace equipped with
sofas and lanterns; perfect for a preprandial
margarita.
Nobel Burek (Mikloieva c 30; burek 450SIT; h24hr)
This place serves up Slovenian-style fast
food.
Hot Horse (Trubarjeva c 31; snacks 350-800SIT, burgers
400-700SIT; h8am-midnight Mon-Sat, noon-midnight Sun)

Fill up with giant horseburgers and vegeburgers or pop next door for sandwiches.
Pinki (%544 11 11; Poljanska c 22; meals 700-800SIT;
h6.30am-10pm Mon-Sat) Serving lasagnes, tortillas and pizzas, this cheap and cheerful
student-oriented diner also does a 240SIT
coffee-and-doughnut breakfast.
Pre-eminent pizzerias include the warmly
vaulted Foculus (% 251 56 43; Gregorieva 3;
h10am-midnight Mon-Fri, noon-midnight Sat & Sun),
good-value Napoli (%231 29 49; Prena 7) and
trusty erin (%232 09 90; Trubarjeva c 52; h10am11pm Mon-Fri, noon-11pm Sat & Sun), which has
bargain 980SIT lunch menus before 3pm.
Otherwise pizzas range from 1200SIT to
1800SIT almost anywhere.
The minimarket Market Tabor (Kotnikova 12;
h7.30am-10pm) is open on Sunday.

DRINKING
Few cities have central Ljubljanas concentration of fabulously inviting cafs and bars,

L J U B L J A N A D r i n k i n g 347

many with outdoor seating. Unless noted,


those listed below open daily till late and
charge from 160SIT to 200SIT for an espresso, 300SIT to 350SIT for small beers,
and 900SIT to 1000SIT for cocktails. Just
choose the ambience that appeals.
Movia Vinoteka (% 425 54 48; Mestni trg 2;
hnoon-midnight Mon-Sat) If youve been disappointed by mediocre Slovenian vintages,
this atmospheric 1820 wine bar beside the
Town Hall is the place to taste the really
good ones. Sip slowly, however, as the 0.07L
measures barely wet the bottom of the giant
globe glasses. And at 600SIT to 3500SIT a
pop, youll need a few before youre tipsy.
BiKoFe (Gosposka 7) This spot has a soft, jazzy,
mellow vibe, attracting both a straight and
gay clientele.
Prskelet (Kljuavniarska 5; h10am-1am) Here
skeletons enjoy all-day two-for-one cocktails in an amusing Rocky Horrorstyle
basement.
Makalonca (Hribarjevo nab) An unpretentious,
cult bar on a glassed-in jetty, Makalonca is
at the bottom of some easy-to-miss steps.
Salon (%433 20 06; Trubarjeva c 23) This dazzling designer-kitsch cocktail bar features
gold ceilings and leopard-skin couches.
Petit Caf (Trg francoske revolucije 4) The wonderful Petit Caf magically transports you
to Montmartre.
Oriental Caf (Metelkova 8) Many backpackers
are so enchanted by the Celica Hostels Oriental Caf they forget to explore next-door
Metelkova (p348).
Riverside classics:
Maek (%425 37 91; Cankarjevo nab 19) Happy hour
4pm to 7pm.

Zlata Ladjica (%241 06 95; Juriev trg) Has DJs at


weekends.

CN7 Patisserie (Cankarjevo nab 7; coffee 200SIT, beers


from 350SIT; h8am-1pm) CN7s willow-whipped stools
offer arguably the best-positioned riverbank perch.

For Clockwork Orange designer cool try


Fraga Gallery-Bar (Mestni trg 15), audacious,
white-on-white Minimal (Mestni trg 4; small beers
450SIT) or the less exclusive cake-caf Zvezda
(%121 90 90; Wolfova 1).
If it had longer opening hours, Gostilna
Vodnikov Hram (opposite) would knock
the spots off Anglo-Irish pubs like Patricks
(Prena 6), Sir Williams (Tavarjeva 8a; hclosed Sun)
or the ever-popular Cutty Sark (%425 14 27;
Knafljev prehod).

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

346 L J U B L J A N A E a t i n g

Quaint olde-style places include Caf


Antico (%426 56 28; Stari trg), wood-panelled
Roza (idovska 6) and patisserie cafs such as
ajna Hisa (Stari trg 3; h9am-11pm Mon-Sat) and
Slaiarna Pri Vodnjaku (Stari trg 30).

ENTERTAINMENT

Where to? In Ljubljana and Ljubljana Calling


(www.ljubljana-calling.com) list cultural events,
sports and nightlife options. Glossy Ljubljana
Life (www.ljubljanalife.com) has some refreshingly
frank reviews. All are free from TICs, hotels
and some restaurants.

www.lonelyplanet.com

idiosyncratic venues hide behind mostly unmarked doors, coming to life after midnight
Thursday to Saturday. You might well feel
uncomfortable amid the street-art, graffiti
and shadow-lurking youth gangs, but this is
all part of Metelkovas unique atmosphere.
Entering from Masarykova c, to the right is
Gala Hala (www.ljudmila.org/kapa/program in Slovene)
with live bands and club nights. Easy to
miss in the first building to the left are Club
Tiffany (a gay caf-club) and Monokel Club
(for lesbians). Beyond the first courtyard,
well-hidden Gromka (folk, improv, possibly anything) is beneath the bodyless heads.
Cover charges and midweek openings are
rare but erratic for all Metelkova venues.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Ljubljana train station (% 291 33 32; Trg


Osvobodilne Fronte) has up to 19 daily services
to Maribor (1710SIT to 2895SIT, 1 to 2
hours). There are five trains daily to Koper
(2040SIT, 2 hours). For international
services see p382.

GETTING AROUND

The cheapest way to Ljubljana Aerodrome (Brnik


Airport; www.lju-airport.si) is by city bus from

Slovene; Kongresni trg; h8am-1am Mon-Wed, 8am-4am


Thu-Sat, 6pm-4am holidays) This well-designed,

Kinoteka (www.kinoteka.si in Slovene; Miloieva c 28;


admission 1400SIT) Offers the most imaginative

smart and trendy bar-restaurant complex


holds weekend discos.
As (%425 88 22; www.gostilnaas.si in Slovene; Knafljev
prehod; h9am-3am) Thursday to Saturday DJs
transform this candle-lit basement bar, hidden beneath this incongruously upmarket
restaurant, into a pumping, crowd-pulling
nightclub.
Jazz Club Gajo (%425 32 06; www.jazzclubgajo

programme, including rare, old and cult


movies, in an Art Deco mansion. If the
linguistic challenges of following a Slovene
soundtrack are getting you down, slope
off for a drink in the atmospheric, moviethemed Marilyn Caffe (big beers 380SIT).

bus station lane 28 (740SIT, 45 minutes).


These run hourly, from 5.10am to 8.10pm
Monday to Friday, but only seven times
daily at weekends. Another seven Marun/
Adria coaches (1000SIT, 30 minutes) run
daily. Big hotels offer an airport shuttle for
2500SIT per person, or 8800SIT per shuttle
if there are few passengers. A taxi to the city
centre costs about 7000SIT.
The heavily pedestrianised city centres
one-way system makes driving confusing.
Street parking is feasible, though not always easy in the museum area and near
Metelkova. Once youve found a space its
generally most efficient to walk.
Ljubljana has excellent city buses, most
lines operating every 10 to 20 minutes from
3.15am to midnight. However, the central
area is perfectly walkable, so buses are really
only necessary if youre staying out of town.
Buy tokens in advance (190SIT) from newsstands, or pay 300SIT once aboard. Ljubljana
Cards (3000SIT for 72 hours; see p342) give
you free city-bus travel.
In summer you can hire bicycles at the
train station, Petit Caf (p347) and the
STIC (p342) for 100SIT per hour, or at Hotel
Lev (Vonjakova 1; per day 3000SIT) and at a kiosk
near Maek caf (p347).

GETTING THERE & AWAY

AROUND LJUBLJANA

.com; Beethovnova 8; admission free; h11am-2am MonFri, 7pm-midnight Sat & Sun, closed mid-Julmid-Aug)

%234 46 00; www.ap-ljubljana.si; Trg Osvobodilne Fronte;


h 5.30am-9pm) has bilingual info-phones,

%01 / pop 715 / elev 325m

For Monday night student jams, midweek


concerts or just a convivial drink, the Gajo
is always inviting.
Orto Bar (%232 16 74; Grablovieva 1; h8pm-4am)
Popular for late-night drinking and dancing with occasional live music, the Orto has
red padded walls, whirring steel propeller
fans and a taste for Joy Division. Its just
five minutes walk from Metelkova.
Metelkova (www.metelkova.org) In this twocourtyard block, half a dozen wonderfully

and its timetable is very useful once you get


the hang of it nominate your destination
first. Hourly weekday buses serve Bohinj
(1940SIT, two hours) via Bled (1400SIT,
1 hours). Most buses to Piran (2910SIT,
2 to three hours, up to eight daily) go via
Koper (2460SIT, 2 hours, up to 10 daily)
and Postojna (1340SIT, 1 hours, 20 daily).
Most Maribor buses (2760SIT, three hours,
seven daily) leave in the afternoon. All services are much less frequent at weekends.

Nightclubs & Live Music


Global (%426 90 20; www.global.si in Slovene; Tomieva
2; admission before midnight free, after midnight 1000SIT)

After 11pm, Thursday to Saturday, this


retro cocktail bar with Ljubljanas best city
views becomes a popular dance venue. Take
the bouncer-guarded elevator on Slovenska
c to the top.
K4 (www.klubk4.org; Kersnikova 4; h10pm-4am)
Two stark dance floors beneath the student organisation Roza Klub (p380) enter
from rear feature rave-electronic music
Friday and Saturday (1000SIT to 1500SIT),
with other styles of music weeknights, and
a popular gay-and-lesbian night on Sunday
(500SIT after 11pm).
Bachus (%241 82 44; www.bachus-center.com in

Theatre & Classical Music


Cankarjev Dom (%241 73 00; www.cd-cc.si; Trg Republike) is a complex of around a dozen venues
offering a remarkable smorgasbord of performance arts. Its ticket office (%241 71 00;
h11am-1pm & 3-8pm Mon-Fri, 11am-1pm Sat, & 1hr
before performances) lurks within the basement

floor of Maximarket Mall.


Also check for classical concerts at the
attractive Filharmonija (p343) and for
ballet at the neo-Renaissance 1882 Opera
House (%425 48 40; upanieva ul).

Cinemas

The shed-like bus station (Avtobusna postaja;

Stina

The abbey at Stina (Sittich in German) is


the oldest monastery in Slovenia and one
of the countrys most important religious
and cultural monuments. At only 35km
from Ljubljana and within easy walking
distance of the train station at Ivanna Gorica (population 1580), Stina can be visited
on a day trip from the capital or en route
to Novo Mesto, the valley of the lower Krka
or Bela Krajina.
The monastery was established in 1136
by the Cistercians, a branch of the Bene-

L J U B L J A N A G e t t i n g A r o u n d 349

dictines who worked as farmers, following


a vow of silence. It became the most important religious, economic, educational
and cultural centre in Dolenjska, but it was
abandoned in 1784 when Emperor Joseph
II dissolved all religious orders many of
them very powerful and corrupt in the
Habsburg Empire.
The Cistercians returned in 1898, and
today almost the entire complex is again in
use. There are seven priests (including the
abbot) and six monks in residence.
ORIENTATION

The village of Stina is about 2.5km north


of Ivanna Gorica, where youll find the
train station (Sokolska 1).
SIGHTS

The entrance to the walled Stina Abbey (Stiki


Samostan; %787 71 00; www2.pms-lj.si/sticna in Slovene;
Stina 17; adult/student & child 600/300SIT; h8am-noon
& 2-5pm Tue-Sat, 2-5pm Sun, tours 8.30am, 10am, 2pm &
4pm Tue-Sat, 2pm & 4pm Sun), an incredible combi-

nation of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance


and baroque architecture, is on the eastern
side across a small stream. On the northern
side of the central courtyard is the Old Prelature, a 17th-century Renaissance building
that contains the Slovenian Religious Museum
(Slovenski Verski Muzej) on two floors. Its
permanent collection (History of Christianity in Slovenian) is on the 2nd floor. The
museum is a hotchpotch of antique clocks,
paintings, furniture and farm implements
mixed with chalices, monstrances and
icons. There are a few 16th-century missals
and medical texts in Latin and German, but
all the medieval documents are facsimiles
of the originals carted off to libraries in
Vienna and Ljubljana when the order was
banned in the 18th century.
On the western side of the courtyard,
the Abbey Church (1156) was built as a buttressed, three-nave Romanesque cathedral,
but it was rebuilt in the baroque style in
the 17th and 18th centuries. Inside, look
for the Renaissance red-marble tombstone
of Abbot Jakob Reinprecht in the north
transept and the blue organ cupboard with
eight angels (1747) in the choir loft. The
greatest treasures here are the Stations of the
Cross painted in 1766 by Fortunat Bergant,
who spelled his surname with a W on the
last one.

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

348 L J U B L J A N A E n t e r t a i n m e n t

South of the church is Stinas celebrated


vaulted cloister, which mixes Romanesque
and early Gothic styles. The cloister served
as an ambulatory for monks in prayer and
connected the church with the monasterys
other wings. The arches and vaults are
decorated with frescoes of the prophets and
Old Testament stories as well as allegorical subjects such as the Virtues, the Four
Winds and so on. Look for the carved stone
faces on the western side that were meant
to show human emotions and vices upon
which the clergy were expected to reflect.
On the southern side of the cloister is
a typically baroque monastic refectory with
an 18th-century pink ceiling and decorative
swirls and loops made of white stucco. One
floor above is the much impoverished library.
Neffs Abbey, built in the mid-16th century by
Abbot Volbenk Neff, runs to the west. The
arches in the vestibule on the ground floor
are painted with a dense network of leaves,
blossoms, berries and birds.
The Cistercians sell their own products
(honey, wine, herbal teas, liqueurs) in a
small shop (h8am-12.30pm & 1-3pm Mon-Fri, 8am12.30pm Sat) at the abbey entrance.
SLEEPING & EATING

Grofija (County; %/fax 787 81 41; Vir pri Stini 30; per
person 20) This 19th-century farmhouse with
four rooms for guests is 2km southeast of
the abbey. Horses are available for hire. A
major Hallstatt settlement dating from 800
BC once stood near the site of the tennis
court here.
Krma Deseti Brat (%787 80 62; Stina 27; meals from
2200SIT; h8am-10pm Tue-Sun) Just uphill from the
monastery, the 10th Brother Tavern serves
up dishes of game, Dolenjska sausage, wild
mushrooms and truklji (dumplings).
Pri Jurku (At the Mushroom; %787 71 10; Ljubljanska c 38; pizzas 1100SIT; h10am-10pm) This cute
little place in Ivanna Gorica, about 150m
northeast of the train station and just off
the road to the abbey, serves local favourites
and quite decent pizza.
In Stina youll also find a small supermarket called Vele (Stina 27a), just up from
the abbey.
GETTING THERE & AWAY

Stina is served by up to 14 buses (one


hour) a day from Ljubljana on weekdays,
reducing to five on Saturday.

www.lonelyplanet.com

JULIAN ALPS
Dramatic rocky mountain spires straddle the Italian border. Within Slovenia
these Julian Alps (named for Caesar) climax at tri-peaked Mt Triglav (2864m),
the countrys highest summit. Along with
the neighbouring mountains, forests and
breathtakingly beautiful valleys, the area
forms the Triglav National Park. At weekends, half of Ljubljanas population decamps here to ski, cycle, fish, climb or hike.
There are adventure sports to suit every
level of insanity, many based in Bovec, and
few places in Europe offer better rafting,
paragliding or canyoning at such affordable
prices.

KRANJ
%04 / pop 37,000

Backed by a threatening battalion of mountains, Kranjs old core looks most picturesque when seen from across the Sava River,
looking to the northeast. This is a view
youll enjoy briefly from the right-hand
windows of buses headed from Ljubljana
to Bled/Kranjska Gora, between gaps in the
light-industrial foreground.
The frequent weekday buses between
Kranj and Ljubljana Aerodrome (in Brnik)
make it possible to head straight from the
plane to the Julian Alps without diverting
to Ljubljana. While awaiting your Bled- or
Kranjska Gora-bound bus, consider poking around the mildly appealing Kranj Old
Town. It starts near the Art Nouveau former
post office (Maistrov trg), a 500m walk south
from the bus station. Most places of interest are along just three southbound pedestrianised streets Preernova, Britov and
Tomiieva ulicas two of which bring you
to the impressive Sv Kancijan Church, with its
frescoes and ossuary. As far south again,
the Old Town dead-ends near the Serbian
Orthodox church with a 16th-century defence
tower.
If you need a place to stay, theres the
overpriced Hotel Creina (% 202 45 50; www
.hotel-creina.si; Koroka c; s/d/tr 13,500/18,000/21,900SIT),
south of the former post office.
Colourfully stylish, student-oriented Cukrama (Britov 73; beers 400SIT; h11am-late) is a great
place for a drink, and boasts a gas-heated
balcony overlooking an abyss.

www.lonelyplanet.com

From Kranj its a relatively easy 10km


excursion to kofja Loka, which has one of
Slovenias most beautiful town squares
(Mestni trg) and a fine castle (Loski Grad; 13 Grajski
pot) containing a decent ethnographical museum
(%517 04 00; adult/child 600/400SIT; h10am-6pm TueSun Apr-Oct). Buses run approximately hourly

from Kranj (490SIT, 25 minutes).

BLED
%04 / pop 5467

Genteel, millennium-old Bled is the gateway to the mountains. Its attraction is


an absolutely idyllic setting on a 2kmlong subalpine lake with a castle crag and
romantic island placed exactly where youd
want them. Its a scene that seems designed
for some god of tourism, not for the 13thcentury bishops of Brixen. Bled town is not
architecturally memorable, but its small,
convenient and a delightful base from
which to simply stroll and gaze. Beware: in
midsummer the beauty is diluted a little by
the ever-expanding crowds and prices.

Information
Bled Health Centre (%575 40 00; Mladinska c 1;
h7am-7pm)
Kompas (%572 75 00; Bled Shopping Centre; h9am7pm) Sells maps, hires bicycles, offers tours and changes
money.
SKB Banka (Bled Shopping Centre; h9-11.30am &
2-5pm Mon-Fri) One of several banks with an ATM.
TIC (%574 11 22; www.bled.si; h9am-6pm Mon-Sat,
noon-5pm Sun, later in summer) On the lakefront near the
Park Hotel.
Union 99 (www.union-bled.com; Ljubljanska c 9; per
15min 300SIT; h8am-midnight) An appealing upstairs
caf-bar with an Internet connection.

Sights
On its own romantically tiny island (Blejski
Otok), the baroque Church of the Assumption
(h8am-dusk, variable in winter) is Bleds photogenic trademark. Getting there by piloted
plenta (gondola; 10 per person, 1 hours
return) is the archetypal tourist experience.
Gondola prices are standard from any jetty,
and youll stay on the island long enough to
ring the lucky bell. Ordinary row-yourself
boats cost 2000SIT per hour.
Topping a sheer 100m-cliff, Bled Castle
(%578 05 25; Blejski Grad; adult/student 1200/1100SIT;
h8am-8pm May-Sep, 8am-5pm Oct-Apr) is the per-

fect backdrop to lake views, notably those

J U L I A N A L P S B l e d 351

from Mlino, on the lakes southern bank.


One of many access footpaths leads up from
beside Bledec Hostel. Admission includes a
historical museum section and the fabulous
views.
Hidden away in its own lakeside park
beyond Mlino is Vila Bled (%579 15 00; www
.vila-bled.com; C Svobode 26). This is now a Relais
& Chateaux hotel, but it started life as Titos
summer retreat. Its basic design is somewhat forbiddingly 1950s, but there are some
brilliant communist murals and a delightful
outside terrace between arches of a colonnade. Its well worth the price of a drink to
look around.

Activities
For perfect photos, stroll right around the
lake. This 6km walk should take around
two hours, including the short, steep climb
to the brilliant Osojnica viewpoints.
Another popular, easy walk is to and
through the 1.6km-long Vintgar Gorge (adult/
child 900/600SIT; hMay-Oct). The highlight is an
oft-renovated, century-old wooden walkway (no bicycles) which crisscrosses the
fizzing Radovna River for the first 700m or
so. Thereafter the scenery becomes tamer,
passing a tall railway bridge, a sprayspouting weir, and ending at the anticlimactic Sum Waterfall. The gorge is officially
but not physically closed in winter. Easiest
access is via the appealing Gostilna Vintgar
(an inn), three well-signed kilometres away
on quiet, attractive roads from the Bledec
Hostel. An alternative path back to Bled via
Zasip is easy to lose track of before St Catherines Church (Cerkev Sv Katarina).
For something tougher ask at the tourist
office about multiday hikes and mountain-bike
routes between semiabandoned, roadless
hamlets in the mountains. The TIC can also
help you arrange gliding (from 30) from
nearby Lesce aerodrome. What a view!

Sleeping
Sobe (private rooms) are offered by dozens
of homes. Agencies Kompas and Globtour
Bled (%574 18 21; www.globtour-bled.com; Hotel Krim,
Ljubljanska c 7) have extensive lists, with prices
for singles starting at 17. There is a 30%
surcharge for stays under three nights.
Grand Hotel Toplice (%579 10 00; www.hotel
-toplice.com; C Svobode 12; s 100-170, d 130-200, ste
210-250; pns) With a history that goes

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

350 J U L I A N A L P S K r a n j

www.lonelyplanet.com

0
0

BLED
A

D
TRANSPORT
Bus Station...............................19 D2
Gondola Jetty.......................... 20 A4
Gondola Jetty.......................... 21 A3
Gondola Jetty.......................... 22 C4
Gondola Jetty.......................... 23 D3
Gondola Jetty.......................... 24 D2
Reica R 25 C2
Rowing Boat Rental.................
iver
Rowing Boat Rental................. 26 C4
Rowing Boat Rental...............(see 20)
tga

Vin

D3
D3
D2
C4
A3

Globtour Bled.......................... 10
Grand Hotel Toplice.................11
Hotel Jelovica...........................12
Penzion Mlino..........................13
Penzion Zaka .......................... 14

INFORMATION
Bled Health Centre.....................1 D2
Kompas.................................(see 15)
Post Office.................................2 D3
SKB Banka.............................(see 15)
TIC............................................ 3 D3
Union 99................................... 4 D3

500 m
0.3 miles
Boardwalk

EATING
Re Bled Shopping Centre.............. 15 D3
i
kaCastle Restaurant.....................(see 5)
SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES
c
Gostilna Pri Planincu................ 16 D2
Bled Castle.................................5 C2
Church of the Assumption..........6 B3
Okarina................................... 17 C2
Slaiarna mon..................... 18 C2
Vila Bled.....................................7 B4
a c
Supermarket..........................(see 15)
rsk
vo
SLEEPING
lo od
K
Bledec Hostel.............................
8 C2
Camping Bled............................ 9 A4

ansk

Partiz

upanieva 9; s/d Sep-Jun 32/48, Jul & Aug 40/64)

16 07; meals from 3500SIT, beers 470SIT; h9am-10pm)

This penzion offers seven spacious if


unsophisticated rooms with balconies and
kitchenette above the good-value Regatni
Center restaurant. Four of the rooms have
lake views.
Bledec Hostel (%574 52 50, www.mlino.si; Grajska

Enjoy a meal or just a sunset beer on the


superbly situated terrace of this restaurant.
Stock up on supplies at the supermarkets
on Preernova c or in Bled shopping centre
(Ljubljanska c 4). The latter also has several decent caf-bars.

ajs

Gr

18

dvo

rska

8
Riklijeva c

Kolo

14

Grajska c

Sv

ob

St Matrin's 24
Church

ac

ev

ri

vo
C S

Mlino
Viewpoint

elee
Ca

nk

arj

ev

Straa Hill
(646m)

ska

Osojnica
Viewpoint 1
Footpath to Velika
Osojnica (200m)

13

Mlino

Mlin

Viewpoint

Mala Osojnica
(685m)

To Bohinj
(26km)

back to the mid-19th century, the 87-room


Toplice is Bleds olde worlde hotel, with
attractive public areas, exquisitely outfitted
rooms and superb views of the lake on its
northern side. The hotel also has a couple
of restaurants. The hotels two extensions
the Trst (C Svobode 19; s 45-75, d 60-90), just opposite, and the more attractive Jadran (C Svobode
23; s 45-75, d 60-90), up on the hill are half
the price.
Penzion Mlino (% 574 14 04; www.mlino.si;
C Svobode 45; s/d Nov-Apr 35/50, May-Oct 40/60) The
lake-facing Mlino is on the Bohinj road,
900m southwest of town. The great views
of the castle and lake counter the slightly
cramped rooms and Fawlty Towersstyle
breakfast service.
Bled

10
4
Hotel
Krim
a c
nsk
a
To
lj
Ljub 2 Lesce-Bled
Train Station
(3km); Lesce
15
Aerodrome (4.5km);
Radovljica (6km)

To Ribno
(1km)

26

22

eva

Kidri

Boardwalk

St

20

Camping
Bled
Restaurant

Gate

va

ra

de

bo

Blejski
Otok
6

od

Kid

Road tunnels under


an elephant's trunk
of rock

Bled

od

no

Hotel
Park

11

Lake

Pre

er

23

ka c

ins
ad

19

12
Spa
Park

Grass
Beach

Kid

21

16

25

va
rie

Eating

This handily central hotel is a decently renovated communist-era resort, and charges
5 extra for lake-glimpse rooms.
Penzion Zaka (%574 17 09; www.bled-zaka.com;

ka

Preernova c
Grajs
ka c
17

Pristava

Bled Jezero
Train Station

yet very central. Laundry (1500SIT per


load) is available and Internet costs 500SIT
per half-hour).
Camping Bled (%575 20 00; www.camping.bled.si;
adult/child 10/7; hAprmid-Oct) This well-kept,
popular site fills a rural valley behind a
waterside restaurant at the western end of
the lake. It hires mountain bikes (2500SIT
per day) and can arrange ballooning, rafting, parachuting and more.
The venerable old Grand Hotel Toplice
conjures up the best dining in town and
theres a choice of restaurants. The most
formal dining is at the toney (and aptly
named) Grand Restaurant (meals from 5000SIT),
where seafood and game done up in sauce
rule the menu. Julijana is smart casual and
offers lighter more adventurous food with
a Mediterranean accent for about the same
price. The cheaper Panorama overlooks
the lake and offers a wide range of wellprepared dishes. And theres no classier
place to nibble a slice of cake or linger over
cocktails than the hushed, hallowed lounge
bar where princes, diplomats and celebrities have passed.
Okarina (%574 14 58; Riklijeva c 9; meals 11-22;
h6pm-midnight) Like its cuisine, Okarinas
dcor is an imaginative assortment of
top-quality traditional Slovene and exotic
Indian dishes. Relatively affordable vegetarian curries are available.
Gostilna Pri Planincu (%574 16 13; Grajska c 8; meals
from 1500SIT; hnoon-10pm) This 1903 village pub
serves good-value food in its back rooms and
pizza in the airy new bar upstairs.
Slaiarna mon (Grajska 3; h 7.30am-9pm)
This renowned patisserie-caf is the place
to try krema snena rezina, Bleds scrumptiously light if anaemic-looking speciality,
cream-and-custard pastry.
Castle Restaurant (Restavracija Blejski Grad; %574

To Pokjuka
Gorge (9.5km);
Jesenice (12km)

ka

Seli

M
l

a c

Reica

To Vintgar
Gorge (4km)

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To Selo (1km)

Hotel Jelovica (%579 60 00; www.hotel-jelovica.si;


C Svobode 8; s/d July & August 50/76, rest of year 40/56)

c 17; dm low/high season 17/19, IYHA discount 2; i)

Outwardly a typical penzion, this wellorganised youth hostel has new four-bed
dorms with attached bathrooms. Its quiet

Getting There & Around


Hourly buses to Bohinj (from 7.20am) and
Ljubljana (1460SIT, 1 hours) use the help-

J U L I A N A L P S R a d o v l j i c a 353

fully central bus station (Gtajska c). Buses to


Radovljica via Lesce-Bled station (370SIT,
15 minutes) run every 30 minutes. Bled has
no central train station. Trains for Most na
Soi and Nova Gorica use sweet little Bled
Jezero station, which is 2km west of central
Bled handy for the camping ground and
Pension Zaka but nothing else. Trains for
Austria (up to eight daily) and Ljubljana
(1050SIT, 55 minutes, frequent) use LesceBled station, 4km to the east of town. However, if youre off to Ljubljana its much
nicer (if marginally less convenient) to wait
for your train in attractive Radovljica.
In summer, pint-sized tourist-trains
(adult/child 550/350SIT) trundle around
the lakeside every 40 minutes, passing penzions Mlino and Zaka.

RADOVLJICA
%04 / pop 5950 / elev 488m

A charming town full of historic buildings,


Radovljica enjoys an enviable position atop
an outcrop 75m above a wide plain called
the Deela (Country). A short distance to
the west, two branches of the Sava join
to form Slovenias longest and mightiest
river.
Radovljica (Ratmansdorf in German)
was settled by the early Slavs and grew into
an important market town by the early 14th
century. With increased trade on the river
and the addition of iron forgeries at nearby
Kropa and Kamna Gorica, Radovljica expanded. The town was built around a large
rectangular square fortified with a wall and
defence towers. Radovljicas affluence in
the Middle Ages can be seen in the lovely
buildings still lining Linhartov trg today.
Radovljica is an easy day trip from Bled,
just 6km to the northwest.

Orientation
The centre of old Radovljica is Linhartov
trg; the new town extends primarily northward along Gorenjska c towards Lesce.
Radovljicas bus station is 500m northwest
of Linhartov trg on Kranjska c. The train
station is below the town on C Svobode.

Information
Gorenjska Banka (Gorenjska c 16; h8am-6pm
Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat)
Post office (Kranjska c 1; h7am-7pm Mon-Fri,
7am-noon Sat)

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

352 J U L I A N A L P S B l e d

SKB Banka (Gorenjska c 10; h8.30am-noon &


2-5pm Mon-Fri)

Tourist office (%531 53 00; tdradovljica@s5.net;


Gorenjska c 1; h8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat)

Sights
BEEKEEPING MUSEUM

Although it might not sound like a crowdpleaser, this museum (ebelarski Muzej; %532 05
20; www.muzeji-radovljica.si; Linhartov trg 1; adult/child
500/400SIT; h10am-1pm & 3-6pm Tue-Sun May-Oct,
10am-noon & 3-5pm Wed, Sat & Sun Mar, Apr, Nov & Dec) is

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House (Linhartov trg 24), which has a barely visible picture of St George slaying the dragon.
The 17th-century Vidi House (Linhartov trg 3)
has a corner projection and is colourfully
painted in red, yellow and blue.
The most important house here is 16thcentury ivec House (iveva Hia; %532 05 20;
Linhartov trg 22; adult/child 400/300SIT; h10am-noon
& 6-8pm Tue-Sun Jul & Aug, 10am-noon & 5-7pm Tue-Sun
Jun & Sep, 10am-noon & 4-6pm Tue-Sun Jan-May, Oct-Dec),

which is an interesting hybrid: Renaissance


on the outside and Gothic on the inside.
On the ground floor there is a vaulted hall,
which now serves as a gallery, and on the 1st
floor theres a wood-panelled late-Gothic
drawing room with a beamed ceiling used
as a wedding hall. There is also a chimneyless black kitchen and an interesting
collection of childrens book illustrations by
celebrated Slovenian artists. The fresco on
the exterior shows the Good Samaritan performing his work of mercy.
East of the square is the Gothic Parish
Church of St Peter (Cerkev Sv Petra), a hall
church modelled after the one in Kranj.
The three portals are flamboyant Gothic,
and the sculptures inside were done by
Angelo Pozzo in 1713. The building with the
arcaded courtyard south of the church is
the rectory (upnie).

one of the most interesting in the country,


and there isnt a whole lot you wont know
about things apiarian after an hour inside.
The museum is housed in Thurn Manor,
which began life as Ortenburg Castle in
the early Middle Ages but was rebuilt with
a large hall on the ground floor after the
earthquake of 1511. The cream-and-white
structure has interesting reliefs and stucco
work on its faade.
The museums exhibits take a close look at
the history of beekeeping in Slovenia (which
was at its most intense in the 18th and 19th
centuries), the countrys unique contribution
to the industry with the development of the
Carniolan grey bee species (Apis mellifera
carnica) and the research of men like Anton
Jana (173473), who set up a research station in the Karavanke and is considered
around the world to be the father of modern beekeeping. And the museum doesnt
fail to pass on a few fun facts to know and
tell. Did you realise that bees cannot see
the colour red but go gaga over yellow? The
museums collection of illustrated beehive
panels (panjske konnice) from the 18th and
19th centuries, a folk art unique to Slovenia,
is the largest in the country.

ing ground, with tennis courts nearby.


The Sport Riding Centre (%532 52 00; per hr
400SIT; h7am-7pm) at Podvin Castle (Grad
Podvin; opposite), about 4km southeast of
Radovljica, has horses available for riding
individually or with an instructor.

LINHARTOV TRG

Festivals & Events

Radovljicas main square named in honour of Slovenias first dramatist and historian, Anton Toma Linhart (175695),
who was born here is lined with houses
from the 16th century and is an absolute
delight to explore. It has been called the
most homogeneous Old Town core in Slovenia, with interesting details at every step.
Several lovely buildings are opposite the
Beekeeping Museum, including Koman House
(Linhartov trg 23), which has a baroque painting
on its front of St Florian, the patron saint
of fires (he douses, not sets, them) and Mali

The biggest event of the year is the twoweek long Festival Radovljica (http://festival-ra
dovljica.amis.net), one of the most important
festivals of ancient classical music in all
Europe, held in mid-August.

Activities
There is a public swimming pool (%531 57 70;
Kopalika c; h9am-9pm Jun-Aug) near the camp-

Sleeping
Camping obec (%535 37 00; www.sobec.si; obeva
c 25; camping per person 9.20-10.70, bungalows for 2
73-87; hMay-Sep) The largest (15 hectares)
and arguably the best-equipped camping
ground in Slovenia is in Lesce, about 2.5km
northwest of Radovljica. Situated on a small

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lake near a bend of the Sava Dolinka River,


the camping ground can accommodate
1350 people, which this popular place often
does in summer. In a small pine wood in the
centre are bungalows for up to six people.
Hotel Grajski Dvor (%531 55 85; www.hotel-graj
ski-dvor.si; Kranjska c 2; s/d 8700/12,600SIT; p) Radovljicas only hotel, the four-storey, 65-room
Castle Courtyard has recently been renovated although the dcor remains rooted in
the 1970s. At least check out the delightful
Grajska Gostilnica restaurant.
Grad Podvin (% 532 52 00; www.robas.si/grad
-podvin; s/d 54/67; pns) Its a rather boxy
affair about 4km southeast of Radovljica in
the village of Moje but, hey, its still a castle. Podvin Castle is surrounded by a lovely
park and has tennis courts, an outdoor pool
and a popular horse-riding centre.

Eating
Grajska Gostilnica (%531 44 45; meals 1500-2400SIT;
h11am-11pm Sun-Thu, 11am-midnight Fri & Sat) The
flagship at the Hotel Grajski Dvor, this place
has quickly become the towns best. It has
a mixed cuisine of Italian and Slovenian, a
great wine list and an atmospheric cellar
below. All the metalwork was produced by
UKO in Kropa (see p356).
Gostilna Lectar (%537 48 00; Linhartov trg 2; meals
from 2000SIT; hnoon-11pm Wed-Mon) The Lectar,
in yet another historic Linhartov trg house,
is highly recommended by locals.
Gostilna Augustin (%531 41 63; Linhartov trg 14;
lunch Mon-Fri 1100SIT; h8am-midnight) This welcoming bar-restaurant has a terrace out the
back with stunning views towards Triglav.

Shopping
Vinoteka Sodek (% 531 50 71; Linhartov trg 8;
h9am-7pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat) This shop has
an excellent selection of Slovenian wines.

Getting There & Away


Buses leave from Radovljica almost every
half-hour between 7am and 10pm for Bled
and Ljubljana. They go hourly to Bohinjska
Bistrica (via Bled), Kranj, Kranjska Gora
and Kropa. Other destinations, and daily
frequencies, include: Bovec via Kranjska
Gora and the Vri Pass (one bus daily in
July and August), Brezje (one), Jesenice via
Vrba (up to six), Novo Mesto (one at the
weekend), kofja Loka (one) and Tri (up
to four).

J U L I A N A L P S K r o p a 355

Radovljica is on the rail line linking


Ljubljana (780SIT, 50 minutes) with Jesenice (340SIT, 20 minutes) via kofja Loka,
Kranj and Lesce-Bled. Up to 15 trains a day
pass through the town in each direction.
About eight of the northbound ones carry
on to Villach in Austria.

KROPA
%04 / pop 840 / elev 531m

While in Radovljica, dont miss the chance


for an easy half-day trip to this delightful
village. The inhabitants of Kropa (Cropp in
German) have been workhorses for centuries, mining iron ore and hammering out
the nails and decorative wrought iron that
can still be seen in many parts of Slovenia.
Today Kropa has turned to screws the
Novi Plamen factory is based here but artisans continue their work, clanging away in
the workshop on the villages single street.
The work of their forebears is evident in ornamental street lamps shaped like birds and
dragons, weather vanes and shutters.

Sights
BLACKSMITH MUSEUM (KOVAKI MUZEJ)

The fascinating collection at the museum


(%533 67 17; Kropa 10; adult/child 400/300SIT, with film &
forge display 500/400SIT; h10am-1pm & 3-6pm Tue-Sun
May-Oct, 10am-noon & 3-5pm Wed, Sat & Sun Mar, Apr, Nov
& Dec) traces the history of iron mining and

forging in Kropa and nearby Kamna Gorica


from the 14th to the early 20th centuries.
Nail manufacturing was the towns main
industry for most of that period: from giant
ones that held the pylons below Venice
together to little studs for snow boots, Kropa
produced 130 varieties in huge quantities.
You did not become a master blacksmith
here until you could fit a horseshoe around
an egg without cracking the shell.
The museum has working models of
forges, a couple of rooms showing how
workers and their families lived in very
cramped quarters (up to 45 people in one
house) and a special exhibit devoted to the
work of Joa Bertoncelj (190176), who
turned out exquisite wrought-iron gratings,
candlesticks, chandeliers and even masks.
The museum shows a period-piece blackand-white film about the town and its work
produced in the very socialist 1950s.
The house itself was owned by a 17thcentury iron baron called Klinar, and it

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354 J U L I A N A L P S R a d o v l j i c a

contains some valuable furniture and paintings. Among the most interesting pieces
is a 19th-century wind-up jukebox from
Bohemia.
OTHER SIGHTS

The UKO forgers workshop (%533 73 00; Kropa


7b; h7am-2pm Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat) across from
the museum can be visited. The smiths sell
their wares at the shop (Kropa No 7a) next door,
which keeps the same hours.
An 18th-century furnace called Purgatory
Forge (Vigenj Vice) lies a short distance north
of the museum near the Kroparica, a fastflowing stream that once turned the wheels
that powered the furnaces for the forges.
Close by is the birthplace of the Slovenian
painter Janez Potonik (17491834), whose
work can be seen in the baroque Church of St
Leonard (Cerkev Sv Lenarta), on the hill to the
east, and in Kamnik. Kropa has many other
lovely old houses, including several around
Trg Kropa, the main square, which also has an
interesting old wayside shrine.

Eating & Drinking


Gostilna Pri Kova (%533 63 20; Kropa 30; meals from
2500SIT; h10am-11pm Tue-Sun) Convivial At the
Smiths is in an interesting old house just
north of the museum.
Pri Jarmu (%533 67 50; Kropa 2; pizzas from 1000SIT;
h10am-midnight Fri-Tue) This humble gostilna at
the southern end of Kropa serves hearty pizzas but is more a place to drink than eat.

Getting There & Away


Public transport from Radovljica is minimal. You need your own car.

BOHINJ
%04

Bohinj is not a town but a delightful valley


of quaint meadowland villages culminating
at magnificent Lake Bohinj. The mirrored
waters are hemmed by high mountains that
rise almost vertically from the walking trail
along the lakes 3km-long northern shore.
The minuscule main tourist hub is Ribev
Laz, at the lakes eastern end. Its five-shop
commercial centre contains a supermarket,
pizzeria, post office (with ATM) and the
obliging tourist office (%572 32 70; www.bohinj.si;
h8am-6pm Mon-Sat, 9am-3pm Sun mid-SepJun, 7am7pm Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat & Sun Jul & Aug), which

changes money, sells fishing licences and

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can help with accommodation, including


mountain-hikers huts. Alpinsport (%572 34
86; www.alpinsport.si; hclosed Apr) hires kayaks,
canoes, bicycles and skis from a kiosk near
the stone bridge.
For brochure-worthy photos of Lake
Bohinj, climb 25 minutes up Pe Hill from
Stara Fuina village, 1.5km further north.
Stara Fuina also has an appealing little
Alpine Dairy Museum (Planarski Musej; %572 34 86;
adult/child 400/300SIT; h10am-noon & 4-6pm Tue-Sun,
11am-7pm Tue-Sun Jul & Aug). Along with simi-

larly attractive villages Studor and enica, it


makes a delightful but easy bike ride from
Ribev Laz. The route is dotted with specially fine kozolci and toplarji, Slovenias
unique single and double hayracks.
Summer tourist boats (6.50 return, 15
minutes, seven or eight per day) from Ribev
Laz terminate in Ukanc (aka Zlatorog) at
the lakes far western end. Just 300m from
the jetty a cable car (return 7, half hourly
from 9am to 6pm, or 8am to 8pm July and
August) whisks you up a vertical kilometre
to 1540m; from here, ski lifts or hiking paths,
according to season, continue up Mt Vogel for
astonishing views.
Bohinjska Bistrica (population 3080), Bohinjs biggest village, is 6km east of Ribev
Laz and useful mainly for its train station.

Sleeping & Eating


Private rooms (8.50 to 14.10 per person),
mainly in outlying villages, are available
through the tourist office. Nightly rates are
cheaper for three-day stays.
Hotel Ski (% 572 16 91; d 36-40) With a
stupendous position at the top of the Mt
Vogel cable car, this is one of five hotels run
by Alpinum (%577 80 00; www.alpinum.net).
Penzion Roic (%572 33 93; www.penzion-rozic
.com; per person without breakfast 19-27; i) This
unpretentious chalet-style guesthouse and
restaurant is cheaper than most Ribev
Laz hotels. Its just 100m east of the tourist
office, behind a bike-hire kiosk.
Hotel Jezero (%572 91 00; hotel.jezero@cc-line
.si; s/d from 51/62) This relatively comfortable
place is the closest hotel to the lake, right
by the stone bridge in Ribev Laz. Rooms
with a balcony cost slightly more.
Autokamp Zlatorog (%572 34 82; camp sites per
person 1700-2400SIT; hMay-Sep) A pine-shaded
caravan site, with camping spots too, right
beside the Ukanc jetty.

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Getting There & Around


Buses run hourly (except Sunday) from
Ukanc to Ljubljana via Ribev Laz (470SIT),
Bohinjska Bistrica and Bled, with six extra
buses daily between Bohinjska Bistrica and
Ukanc. Buses to Ukanc will be marked to
Bohinj Zlatorog. From Bohinjska Bistrica,
passenger trains to Nova Gorica (1040SIT,
1 hours, eight daily weekdays, less on
weekends), plus six daily Avtovlak trains
to Most na Soi (470SIT, 50 minutes), use
a long tunnel that offers the only direct
option for reaching the Soa Valley. Avtovlak trains carry cars for 2600SIT.

KRANJSKA GORA

J U L I A N A L P S K r a n j s k a G o r a 357

Theres a cosy little lounge, a well-reputed


restaurant and a good pizzeria attached.
Gostilna Pri Martinu (%582 03 00; Borovka 61;
d 46-52, meals around 1700SIT; h10am-10pm, bar 10am11pm) This atmospheric tavern-restaurant

serves up giant portions and offers four


vegetarian options. Its ajdova kaa (buckwheat with fresh mushrooms in garliccream sauce) is superb. It also has rooms.
Youth Hostel Nika (Penzion Portentov Dom; %588
14 36; iare 2; dm 13; h8am-11pm) Somewhat institutional dorm-rooms are available in this
large black-and-lilac house 800m northeast of the centre, some 200m beyond the
anghai Chinese restaurant.

%04 / pop 2000

Getting There & Away

As ski resorts go, compact little Kranjska


Gora is relatively cute and sits right beside the ski lifts to Slovenias best-regarded
pistes. There are world record-setting ski
jumps 4km west at Planica.
Borovka c, 300m south of the bus station, is the old heart of the village, with
an endearing museum (Borovka 61), an attractive church and a few wooden-roofed old
houses. At its newer western end it passes
the helpful tourist office (%588 17 68; www

Buses run hourly to Ljubljana via Jesenice (change for Bled or Villach), and direct
to Bled at 9.15am and 1.10pm, weekdays
only. In July and August theres a service
to Bovec (1530SIT, 1 hours, one daily) via
the spectacular Vri Pass.

.kranjska-gora.si; Tiarjeva 2; h8am-7pm Mon-Fri, to 8pm


Sat, 9am-1pm Sun Jul-Aug, 8am-3pm Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm
Sat, 9am-1pm Sun Sep-Jun), a bank with ATM and

money exchange, a couple of supermarkets


and the post office.
Several places, including Skipass Travel
(%582 1000; Borokova 5; www.skipasstravel.si), hire
skis, poles and boots and sell lift passes.
The in-your-face mountain valleys also
beckon summer climbers, hikers and anglers alike. For cyclists and motorists theres
the awesome drama of the Vri Pass.

Sleeping & Eating


Accommodation pricing is very complex,
peaking December to February, at Mardi
Gras and in midsummer. April is the
cheapest season, though many hotels close
for repairs at this time. Private rooms
(single/double from 18/26) and mountain
huts can be arranged with help from the
tourist office.
Hotel Kotnik (%588 15 64; kotnik@siol.net; Borovka
75; d 56-64) In the old centre, this appealing,
very well-appointed hotel has turrets, redtiled roofs, and flowers in the window boxes.
Its painted in unmissable bright yellow.

TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK


pop 2705 / elev to 2864m

Although there are 40 country (or landscape) parks and two regional ones in
Slovenia, this is the countrys only gazetted national park, and it includes almost
all of the Julian Alps lying within Slovenia.
The centrepiece of the park is, of course,
Triglav (2864m) Slovenias highest mountain but there are many other peaks here
reaching above 2000m, as well as ravines,
canyons, caves, rivers, streams, forests and
alpine meadows.

Kranjska Gora to Soa Valley


One of the most spectacular and easy
trips in Triglav National Park is simply
to follow the paved road, open from May
to October only, from Kranjska Gora via
the Vri Pass to Bovec, about 50km to the
southwest. Between July and September,
you can do the trip by bus. At other times,
youll need your own transport be it a car
or mountain bike.
The first stop from Kranjska Gora is
Jasna Lake (Jezero Jasna), about 2km south
of town. Its a beautiful, almost too-blue
glacial lake with white sand around its rim
and the little Pivnica River flowing alongside. Standing guard is a bronze statue of
that irascible old goat Zlatorog, the mythical

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356 J U L I A N A L P S B o h i n j

chamois (gams in Slovene) with the golden


horns who once lived on Mt Triglav and
guarded its treasure. Travellers might
recognise Zlatorogs face; its on the label of
the countrys best beer.
As you zigzag up to just over 1100m,
youll come to the Russian Chapel (Ruska
Kapelica), a little wooden church erected
on the site where more than 400 Russian prisoners of war were buried in an
avalanche in March 1916 while building the
road you are travelling on.
The climbing then begins in earnest as
the road meanders past a couple of huts and
corkscrews up the next few kilometres to
Vri Pass (1611m), about 13km from Kranjska Gora. The area was the scene of fierce
fighting during WWI, and a high percentage of the dead lay where they fell (at 1525m
theres a military cemetery to the east of the
road). The Tiarjev Dom mountain hut is
also east of the road. To the west is Mojstrovka (2366m), to the east Prisank (2547m)
and to the south the valley of the Soa River
points the way to Primorska. A hair-raising
descent of about 10km ends just short of the
Julius Kugy Monument. Kugy (18581944) was
a pioneer climber and author whose books
eulogise the beauty of the Julian Alps.
From here you can take a side trip of
about 2.5km northwest along the Soa Trail
(Soka Pot) to the source of the Soa River

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(Izvir Soe). Fed by an underground lake,


the infant river bursts from a dark cave
before dropping 15m to the rocky bed
from where it begins its long journey to the
Adriatic.
Not long after joining the main road
again youll pass the entrance to the
Alpinum Juliana, a botanical garden established in 1926 and showcasing the flora
of all of Slovenias Alps (Julian, KamnikSavinja and Karavanke) as well as the Karst.
The elongated mountain village of Trenta
(population 115; elevation 662m) is about
4km to the south.
In lower Trenta the Dom Trenta (%05-388 93
30; Trenta 31; h10am-6pm late Apr-Oct) contains the
Triglav National Park Information Centre (%04578 0200; www.tnp.si) and the Trenta Museum (Trentarski Muzej; adult/child/student 900/600/550SIT), which
focuses on the parks geology and natural
history as well as the Trenta guides and
pioneers of Slovenian alpinism.
The equally long village of Soa (population 144; elevation 480m) is another 8.5km
downriver. The Church of St Joseph (Cerkev
Sv Joa), from the early 18th century, has
paintings by Tone Kralj (190075). Completed in 1944 as war still raged in Central
Europe, one of the frescoes on the ceiling
depicts Michael the Archangel struggling
with Satan and the foes of humanity, Hitler
and Mussolini.

CLIMBING TRIGLAV
Marked trails in the park many of them under repair lead to countless peaks and summits
besides Triglav. Favourite climbs include Mangart (2678m) on the Italian border (the 12km road
that descends to the Predel Pass is the highest road in Slovenia), the needlepoint of Jalovec
(2645m) in the north, and the sharp ridge of Razor (2601m), southeast of Vri.
To commune with nature in solitude, try climbing from Trenta. Because its more difficult to
reach from major population centres, the western approach to Triglav is quieter than the other
routes. Get ready for a long climb starting from an altitude of just over 600m. From Trenta, an
hours hike along the Zajdnica Valley leads to the foot of Triglavs western face. Follow a long
but relatively easy trail as it zigzags up the mountain to the Doli saddle and the mountain hut
Traka Koa na Doliu (%04-574 4069) at 2151m. From here you can follow the normal route
to the summit via Dom Planika pod Triglavom (%04-574 4069) mountain hut at 2401m or take
the slightly more difficult western ridge.
But the Triglav National Park is not only about climbing mountains. There are easy hikes
through beautiful valleys, forests and meadows, too. Two excellent maps are the PZS 1:50,000
Triglavski Narodni Park and Freytag and Berndts 1:50,000 Julische Alpen Wanderkarte. The new
Triglav National Park: Two Guides in One (Zaloba Mladinska Knjiga), which comes as a 104-page
booklet with a map, is also worth a look. Before setting out on a hike, its wise to check with
the Triglav National Park Information Centre (above) or local tourist offices for advice on current
conditions. Mountaineering shops are another good source of information.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Bovec, the recreational centre of the Upper


Soa Valley (Gornje Posoje), is 12km west
of Soa.

J U L I A N A L P S U p p e r S o a Va l l e y 359

race overlooking Jasna Lake is a great place


for a meal or a drink before pushing on for
the Vri Pass and beyond.
There are several mountain huts on or
near the Vri road. Erjaeva Koa na Vriu
(% 04-586 60 70, 050-610 031; Vrika c 90) is at
1525m. Tiarjev Dom na Vriu (%04-586 60 70,

The compact village square (Trg Golobarskih rtev) has everything you need.
There are cafs, a hotel, a very helpful tourist office (%384 19 19; www.bovec.si; h9am-9pm
Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm Sun summer, hr vary winter) and
several adrenaline-rush adventure-sports
companies: Planet Sport (%040 639 433; www
.drustvo-planet.si), Sportmix (%389 61 60; www.sport
mix.traftbovec.si), Top Rafting (%041 620 636; www
.top.si) and experienced, well-organised Soa
Rafting (%389 6200; www.SocaRafting.si).
Activities include:
Guided canyoning 9600SIT for two hours at Suec.
Hydrospeed Like riding down a river on a boogie board;

050-634 571; plan.drustvo@siol.net; Trenta 85; hlate Aprlate Oct) sits right on the pass.

Kayaking Guided 10km paddle about 8400SIT per person,

SLEEPING & EATING

Gostie Jasna (%04-588 57 00; Vrika c 41; meals


from 1200SIT; h10am-10pm) This inn with a ter-

Near the source of the Soa River at


886m is the Koa pri Izviru Soe (%04-586 60 70,
041 603 190; plan.drustvo@siol.net; hMay-Oct).

Camping grounds abound in the park.


In Trenta theres Kamp Trenta (%041 615 966;
Trenta 60a; per person 1100-1350SIT; hMay-Oct) and
Kamp Triglav (%041 388 93 11; Trenta 18; per person
1000SIT; hApr-Sep). The staff at the Dom Trenta
(%05-388 93 30) in Trenta can book private
rooms (3500SIT per person) and apartments
(apartment for four from 11,000SIT).

7900SIT for 10km.


two-day training courses from 95, including equipment.
White-water rafting From 6200SIT to 10,000SIT
depending on distance.

Save 10% to 15% with student cards, the


TICs Byways booklet, or by simply avoiding midsummer and weekends. Avantura
(%041 718 317; www.bovec.net/avantura.html; Kot 9,
Bovec) offers awesome tandem-jump para-

The bluer-than-blue water of the Soa River


changes tone with the seasons, but is always
surreally vivid. It has carved out one of the
loveliest valleys in the Julian Alps.

gliding (24,000SIT): in winter when the ski


lifts operate you jump off the top of Mt
Kanin!
Chalet-villages throughout the valley have
private-room accommodation from 12 per
person (plus various supplements). There is
an extensive list of contacts at www.bovec
.net but finding anything at all in August
can be tough. The central Alp Hotel (%388 63

GETTING THERE & AWAY

70; www.bovec.net/hotelalp; Trg Golobarskih rtev 48; s/d


46/74.60) is smart and good value. Camping

UPPER SOA VALLEY


%05

Public transport in the area is poor. Weekday buses from Bovec via Kobarid run five
times daily to Nova Gorica (1710SIT, two
hours) and thrice to Ljubljana (3150SIT, 3
hours), passing Most na Soi train station
(for Bled and Bohinj). In July and August
only, six daily buses cross the spectacular
Vri Pass to Kranjska Gora; from here
hourly buses continue to Ljubljana.

Bovec
pop 1610

For alpine drama, the views are best around


Bovec, above which towers Mt Kanin, Slovenias highest ski area at 2587m. Although
Bovec itself is no great beauty, it makes an
ideal base for hiking, biking or climbing
into the marvellous valley beyond and is
nationally famous for extreme sports.

facilities are better in Kobarid, but camping ground Polovnik (%041 641 898; www.kamp
-polovnik.com; Ledina 8; camp sites from 1500SIT, showers
120SIT) is handily central.

Kobarid
pop 1240

Nearby Kobarid village (Caporetto in Italian) is quainter than Bovec, though the
woodland scenery is somewhat tamer. On
its main square is extreme-sports agency
XPoint (%388 53 08; www.xpoint.si; h8am-8pm
daily Jun-Sep, Sat & Sun only Oct-May) and Internetequipped Bar Cinca Marinca (Trg Svobode 10; per
30min 250SIT; h8am-11pm). Right in the town
centre, the tourist office (%389 00 00; www.kobar
id.si) is within Kobarids museum (adult/student
800/600SIT; h9am-6pm, to 7pm Apr-Sep), which is
otherwise devoted mainly to the regions

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

358 J U L I A N A L P S T r i g l a v N a t i o n a l Pa r k

WWI battles. These killed over 200,000


people and formed the backdrop to
Ernest Hemingways Farewell to Arms. The
daring Austro-German breakthrough at Kobarid in October 1917 invented blitzkrieg.
Remnant WWI troop emplacements as
well as numerous Roman and 6th-century
archaeological sites can be seen on an easyto-follow, half-day hiking loop to the impressive Slap Kozjak (Kozjak Waterfalls).
Not far from Kobarids central church,
Apartmaji-Sobe Ivani (%389 10 07; apartma-ra@siol
.net; Gregorieva 6C; s 18-30, d 30-50) is a popular
central homestay. Its neat and clean, with
bathrooms shared between pairs of cheaper
rooms.
Lazar Kamp (%388 53 33; www.lazar-sp.si; per
person 6.50-9; hApr-Oct) is perched idyllically
above the Soa River, 1.7km southeast of
Kobarid, halfway to Slap Kozjak. Probably
Slovenias finest camping ground, the multilingual owners are conscientious and hospitable. Their wild weststyle saloon-caf
serves delicious palainka crepes. Go on,
try the bears blood!
The renowned Restaurant Kotlar (mains 15003000SIT; hnoon-11pm Thu-Mon) is also located on
Kobarids main square.

NOVA GORICA/GORIZIA
Nova Gorica, a green but dull casino- and
border-town, was torn from Italian-held
old Gorizia after WWII. Today the two
towns lie side-by-side on each side of the
border. Nova Gorica is useful mainly as a
money-saving public transport route between Italys budget airline-served western
cities of Trieste and Treviso and Slovenias
Julian Alps. Part of the mini-Berlin Wall
dividing the cities was pulled down to great
fanfare in 2004, leaving the anomalous
Piazza Transalpina straddling the border
right behind Nova Gorica station. At the
piazza theres no fence and (usually) no
guards, so in reality theres rarely anything
to physically stop you wandering across to
the Italian side, where the frequent Italian
bus 1 will pick you up and conveniently
whisk you to Gorizia station. Bizarrely,
however, this is NOT a legal border crossing, and it wont be until Slovenia joins the
Schengen Convention in October 2007.
Meanwhile EU (plus Icelandic, Norwegian
and Swiss) citizens may use a less direct
shuttle bus (1, 25 minutes, almost hourly)

www.lonelyplanet.com

between the two train stations, or cross on


foot at the Gabrielle border crossing (h8am-8pm
Mon-Sat; no banks). Gabrielle is a two-minute
stroll south of Nova Gorica train station, or
10 minutes southwest from the bus station:
head straight down Erjaveva which becomes Via San Gabriele in Italy. Continue
five minutes to the five-way junction Piazza
Medaglie dOro to pick up southbound Italian bus 1 for Gorizia station.
Other nationalities cant use the Gabrielle crossing. Instead they are expected to
use the 24-hour Rona DolinaCassa Rosa
crossing (where there are banks with ATMs).
This is reached by half-hourly buses (any
number) from Nova Gorica bus station, or
by walking 20 minutes south from the train
station: follow the railway line through the
cycle-tunnel, immediately thereafter cross
the tracks on a footbridge and continue
along Pinka Tomaia and Pot na Pristavo.
From Cassa Rosa take Italian bus 8 northbound along its convoluted route, which
loops back to Gorizia bus/train stations.
There are banks with ATMs at Rona
Dolina and Nova Gorica bus station but not
at Gabrielle, nor at the train station, which
nonetheless does accept euros for tickets (at
some 10% below market rates).
Nova Goricas best-value place to stay is
Prenoie Pertout (%303 21 94; www.prenocisceper
tout.com; s/d 5000/7000SIT), a well-marked house
just 50m east then north from the Rona
Dolina border crossing. Its surprisingly
peaceful and comfortable.
Buses travel between Nova Gorica and
Ljubljana (2380SIT, 2 hours) approximately hourly via Postojna, and five times
daily to Bovec via Kobarid.
Trains run to Bohinjski Bistrica (1190SIT,
1 hours) and Bled or via Seana and
Divaa to Postojna and Ljubljana.

KARST & COAST


Slovenias 45km sliver of coastline has no
beach worthy of the name, although that
hasnt stopped Portoro becoming a major
resort. The coasts real appeal lies in its
charming old Venetian ports: Koper, Izola
and picture-perfect Piran. En route from
Ljubljana youll cross Karst (Kras), Slovenias west-central region, which is synonymous with eccentrically eroded limestone

www.lonelyplanet.com

K A R S T & C OA S T P o s t o j n a 361

landscapes and riddled with magnificent


caves. Slovenias two most famous caves
theme park-style Postojna and quietly awesome kocjan couldnt be more different.

leries spread over five levels. Much of it is


open only to speleologists, but casual visitors can see about 900m-worth.

POSTOJNA

Dozens of Postojna houses rent rooms


(single/double from 4500/7500SIT). Central Kompas (%72 14 80; www.kompas-postojna.si;
Titov trg; h8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm Sat) or the
cave-side tourist office (www.postojna.si; h10am4pm Sep-Apr, 9am-6pm May-Oct) can help.
Gostilna Poar (%751 52 52; tw 46; hclosed
Wed) Facing the cave-mouth castle in
Predjama, this brilliantly situated inn has
simple rooms with new bathrooms, and is
above the village restaurant.
Hotel Kras (%726 40 71; www.hotel-kras.com; Titov
trg; s/d 33/47) This unlovely and somewhat
tatty concrete boxstyle hotel is right on
the central square, a 200m stroll north of
the bus station.

%05 / pop 8500

Slovenias foremost tourist attraction, Postojna Cave (%700 01 00; www.postojnska-jama.si; adult/
student/child 3690/2770/2390SIT) is a very obvious
2km stroll northwest of unremarkable Postojna town. Inside, impressive stalagmites
and stalactites stretch almost endlessly in all
directions, as do the chattering crowds who
shuffle past them. A visit involves a 1.7km
walk, with some gradients but no steps.
It culminates in a quick encounter with a
cute, endemic Proteus anguinus humanfish. The very jolly highlight which both
starts and finishes the tour is chugging
between the limestone formations on an
underground train. Dress warmly or hire a
coat (700SIT): even on blistering summer
days its only 8C to 10C inside the cave,
the train seats may be wet, and theres some
wind chill on the open carriages.
Entry times are fixed. At a minimum
there will be departures at 10am and 2pm
daily plus at noon and 4pm on weekends.
Frequency rises steadily towards summer,
becoming hourly (from 9am to 6pm) between June and October.
Idyllic Predjama village is 9km northwest of Postojna. It consists of half a dozen
houses, a rural inn, a mock-medieval jousting course and a remarkable castle (%700
01 00; adult/student 1100/830SIT; h10am-4pm Jan-Mar
& Nov-Dec, 10am-6pm Apr & Oct, 9am-7pm May-Sep)

which appears to grow out of a yawning


cave. Although a castle has stood on the
site since 1202, the one you see today dates
from the 16th century. Then as now the
four-storey fortress looked unconquerable.
The castles eight museum rooms contain little of interest, but it does have an
eyrie-like hiding place at the top called
Erazems Nook, a drawbridge over a raging
river, holes in the ceiling of the entrance
tower for pouring boiling oil on intruders,
a very dank dungeon and a 16th-century
chest full of treasure (unearthed in the cellar in 1991).
Beneath the castle are stalactite-adorned
caves (1100SIT, cave-castle combination ticket adult/
student 2000/1500SIT), a 6km network of gal-

Sleeping & Eating

Getting There & Away


Buses from Ljubljana to Koper, Piran
or Novo Gorica all stop in Postojna (1
hours). The train is less useful as the station is 1km east of town near the bypass,
ie 3km from the caves. Theres no public
transport except five local buses on school
days from Postojna bus station to Bukovje
village (390SIT). Thats just 1.3km short
of Predjama, a delightful, well-signposted
walk.

CERKNICA
%01 / pop 3550 / elev 559m

Cerknica is the largest town on a lake that


isnt always a lake one of Slovenias most
unusual natural phenomena. The town itself is not particulrly important as a destination, but it is close to the intermittent
Lake Cerknica, the country park around
Rakov kocjan Gorge, Mt Snenik and
Snenik Castle.

Orientation & Information


Cerknica lies about 3km north of Lake
Cerknica. C 4 Maja is the main street in
the centre of town. The bus station is on
abranska ul, about 100m to the southwest and behind the post office. The tourist
office (%709 36 36; vlasta.kolenc@postojna.si; C 4 Maja
51; h7.30am-3pm Mon-Fri) is on the ground
floor of the Notranjska Ecology Centre
(Notranjski Ekoloki Center).

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

360 K A R S T & C OA S T

www.lonelyplanet.com

Sights

Activities

LAKE CERKNICA

The Cerknica Mountain Trail heads southwest


from Cerknica to thickly forested Veliki
Javornik (1269m). From here you can take
a side trip of about two hours to the gorge
at Rakov kocjan. The trail then skirts the
southern shore of Lake Cerknica and carries on north to Krina Gora (856m) and
its nearby cave. It continues northwest to
Slivnica (1114m), home of the witch Urula
and other sorcerers, where you will find a
32-bed mountain hut, Dom na Slivnici (%709
41 40; hdaily May-Sep, Sat & Sun Oct-Apr). The next
day you walk north to Straie (955m) and
then back to Cerknica.

Since ancient times periodic Lake Cerknica


has baffled and perplexed people, including the Greek geographer and historian
Strabo (63 BCAD 24), who called the
mysterious body of water Lacus Lugeus
(Mourning Lake). It wasnt until Valvasor
(a 17th-century historian who published
the first major study of Slovenia) explained
how the water system worked that it was
fully understood.
Cerknica is a polje, a field above a collapsed karst cavern full of sinkholes,
potholes, siphons and underground tunnels that can stay dry for much of the year
but then floods. From the south, the polje
is fed by a disappearing river, the Stren,
and to the east and west it collects water
underground from the Bloke Plateau and
the Javornik Mountains. During rainy periods in the autumn and spring, all this water
comes rushing into the polje. Springs emerge
and the water begins to percolate between
the rocks. The sinkholes and siphons cannot handle the outflow underground, and
the polje becomes Lake Cerknica sometimes in less than a day.
The surface area of Lake Cerknica can
reach almost 40 sq km, but it is never more
than a few metres deep. During dry periods
(usually July to September or later), farmers
drive cattle down to the polje.
The lake really begins at the village of
Dolenje Jezero (population 225), about
2.5km south of Cerknica, where you will
find the Lake House Museum (Muzej Jezerski
Hram; %709 40 53; www.jezerski-hram.si; adult/child
550/450SIT, multimedia 200/150SIT; h demonstration
3pm Sat & Sun), with a 5m by 3m, 1:2500 scale

working model of Lake Cerknica, showing


how the underground hydrological system
works. Theres also an ethnological collection and multimedia presentation.
RAKOV KOCJAN

Protected Rakov kocjan is a gorge 6km


west of Cerknica. The Rak River, en route
to join the Pivka River at Planina Cave, has
sculpted 2.5km of hollows, caves, springs
and Veliki and Mali Naravni Most, the Big and
Little Natural Bridges. There are several hiking trails through and around the gorge.
From Rakek train station (right), you can
reach the gorge on foot in about an hour.

Festivals & Events


Cerknica is famous for its Carnival (Pustni
Karneval) that takes place four days
before Ash Wednesday (late February/early
March) when merrymakers wearing masks
of Urula, who makes her home on Mt
Slivnica, and other legendary characters
parade up and down C 4 Maja while being
provoked by upstarts with pitchforks.

Sleeping & Eating


Teli Vilma (%709 70 90; drago.telic@siol.net; Brestova
9; s/d 5500/8500SIT) This small B&B on the eastern edge of town with two double rooms
with shared bathroom and toilet has stunning views over the lake.
Valvasorjev Hram (%709 37 88; Partizanska c 1;
meals from 1500SIT; h8am-11pm) Serves pizza and
has its own wine cellar.
Youll find a central supermarket (its
divided into two buildings) a large Mercator (C 4 Maja 64; h7am-8pm Mon-Fri, 7am-1pm Sat,
8am-noon Sun) and another Mercator (C 4 Maja 64;
h7am-9pm Mon-Sat, 8am-noon Sun) diagonally
opposite the tourist office.

Getting There & Away


Buses run between nine and 12 times a day
to/from Ljubljana, and about half a dozen
go to Lo, Rakek and Stari trg pri Lou.
Other destinations include Postojna (five
during school term). Two or three buses a
day cross the Croatian border to Previd.
Rakek, about 5km northwest of Cerknica,
is on the rail line that connects Ljubljana
with Seana. About 10 trains a day to/from
the capital stop at Rakek. Heading south, all
stop at Postojna and Pivka, but only about
half continue to Divaa and Seana.

www.lonelyplanet.com

SNENIK CASTLE
%01 / elev 593m

Just south of the village of Kozarie


(population 240), in the secluded Lo
Valley (Loka Dolina) 21km southeast of
Cerknica, stands 16th-century Renaissance
Snenik Castle (Grad Snenik; %705 78 14; adult/
student & child 700/600SIT; h10am-1pm & 3-6pm WedFri, 10am-6pm Sat & Sun mid-AprOct). It is one of

the loveliest and best-preserved fortresses


in Slovenia. The entrance to the castle,
which is surrounded by a large and protected park, is through a double barbican
with a drawbridge and moat. The exhibits
in the main building are the chattels and
furnishings (notice the room done up in
Egyptian handicrafts) of the SchnburgWaldenburg family, who used what they
called Schneeberg as a summer residence
and hunting lodge until WWII. The castle
also contains an art gallery.
Adjacent to the castle, a 19th-century
dairy building houses the Dormouse Collection (Polharska Zbirka; %705 76 37; Kozarie 70; 10am1pm & 2-5pm Wed-Fri, 10am-1pm & 2-7pm Sat & Sun).
The dormouse (glis glis) or loir (polh) is a
tree-dwelling nocturnal rodent, not unlike
a squirrel, which grows to about 30cm and
sleeps through several months of the year.
It is a favourite food in Notranjska, and the
hunting and eating of it is associated with a
lot of tradition. The fur is used to make the
polhovka, the distinctive fur cap worn by
Boiek, Slovenias version of Santa Claus,
and dormouse mast (fat) is a much-prized
machine oil. According to popular belief,
the dormouse is shepherded by Lucifer
himself and thus deserves its fate in the
cooking pot.
Krina Cave, about 7km north of Snenik
Castle and a kilometre or so after you turn
off the main road from Cerknica, is one
of the most magnificent water caves in
the world. It is 8.5km long and counts 22
underground lakes filled with green and
blue water as well as a unique forest of ice
stalagmites near the entrance. The dry part
of the cave, which includes a short boat ride,
can be toured (1100SIT) at 3pm on Sunday
from May to October in an hour. To go
as far as the Kalvarija chamber by rubber
raft via 13 lakes (5500SIT to 7000SIT), you
must contact the guide, Alojz Troha (%041
632 153) in Bloka Polica (house No 7) in
advance. Its a four-hour tour if you elect

K A R S T & C OA S T S n e n i k C a s t l e 363

to do the entire cave, and the price includes


all equipment.
A stage of the E6 European Hiking Trail
leads from near Snenik Castle for about
15km to Snenik (1796m), whose peak
remains snowcapped until well into the
spring. It is the highest non-Alpine mountain in Slovenia. There is accommodation at
the hut Koa Draga Karolina na Velikem Sneniku
(%041 333 198; pd.sneznik@email.si; hSat & Sun MayJul, Sep & Oct, daily Aug).

Festivals & Events


The big occasion in these parts is Dormouse
Hunting Night (Polharska No). Its held on
the first Saturday after 25 September during
the brief period when its open season for
trapping the incredible edible dormouse.

Getting There & Away


Sneniks isolation makes it tough to reach
by public transport. Without a car, bicycle
or horse, youll have to take a bus from
Cerknica to Stari trg pri Lou (up to six a
day) and walk 4km.

KOCJAN CAVES & DIVAA


%05

The perky church tower of a tiny, redroofed hamlet pokes jauntily through fluffy
forests. Just beneath, the limestone earth
cracks like broken eggshells, releasing the
turbulent Reka River from the immense
kocjan Caves (www.park-skocjanske-jame.si; adult/
student 2500/1800SIT). Harder to reach and
much less commercialised than Postojna,
these caves have been declared a Unesco
World Heritage site. With relatively few
stalactites, the attraction here is the sheer
depth of the awesome underground chasm,
which you cross by a dizzying little footbridge. To see this you must join a shepherded two-hour walking tour, involving
hundreds of steps and ending with a rickety funicular ride. Year-round departures
are assured at 10am and 1pm daily plus
3pm Sundays. June to September they leave
additionally at 11.30am, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm
and 5pm daily. Unlike Postojna the caves
warm up somewhat in summer so theres
no need for unseasonable coats.
The nearest town with accommodation
is Divaa, 4km to the northwest. The best
place is Gostilna Malovec (%763 12 25; Kraka
30a; s/d 20/40), 500m northeast of the train

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

362 K A R S T & C OA S T C e r k n i c a

D
Hotel Koper............................. 21
Hotel Vodiek.......................... 22
Kompas....................................23
Pristan Hotel............................ 24

A3
C4
B3
D3

EATING
Delfi.........................................25
Istrska Klet................................26
Skipper.................................... 27
Slaiarna Krotola................. 28

A3
B3
A2
A2

DRINKING
Skica........................................ 29 B3

Gasils
ka
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a
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ka

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Ferra

ul

To Motorway (800m); Postojna (64km);


Novo Gorica (90km); Ljubljana (117km)

Several more fine faades face Trg Brolo, a


wide, peacefully Mediterranean square. One
such is the shield-dotted Fontico that started
life as a 1392 grain warehouse. Beside this,
with a small, simple campanile, is the 14thcentury stone Church of St Jacobs (Martinev trg).
The Koper Regional Museum (%663 65 70;
Kidrieva 19; adult/student 350/250SIT; h 10am-6pm
Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat & Sun Sep-Jun, 9am-1pm & 6-9pm
Tue-Sun Jul & Aug) is within the Belgramoni-

Tacco mansion and features an Italianate


sculpture garden. Kidrieva also has a few
appealing medieval houses with beamed overhangs. It leads west into Carpacciov trg, the
former fish market with a 15th-century salt
warehouse, a 1571 stone pillar, a pub and a
couple of street cafs.
Koper

24

rsk

Go

din

To Izola (8km);
Piran (17km)

ul

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trg

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29
ul
forme
Ul Agrarne Re
26

ul

pa

va

icev

mo

5 Staniev
trg
Gortanov
23
trg

Ul OF

sova

Tu

ul

Martinev
trg

Maru

Valva
zorje
va

Pekarnika ul
Boadraga ul

Cankarjeva ul

11

Trg
Brolo

Gallu

Port of Koper Industrial Area

Trig
ul lavska

va u

contains the city hall and an old pharmacy


which is now a museum, as well as the tourist office.

ul

(Titov trg 3; admission free; h9.30am-2pm & 3.30-7pm)

21

25

1
13
Kidrieva ul
Titov
12
trg
19
16

nie

ul

The greatest attraction of Koper is simply


purposeless wandering. You change centuries abruptly passing through the 1516 Muda
Gate. Continue north past the 1666 Da Ponte
Fountain (Preernov trg) and up evljarska ul,
the petite commercial artery, to reach Titov
trg. This fine central square is dominated by
the 1480 tower attached to the part-Gothic,
part-Renaissance Cathedral of St Lazarus. The
renovated 15th-century Praetorian Palace

upa

Sights

a ul
14

Kidriev
7

18
Carpacciov
trg

Izolska Vrata

Vergerijev
trg

Muzejski
trg

ul

Marina

ik

Mon-Fri, 8.30am-noon Sat) Changes money.


Hospital (%664 71 00; Dellavallejeva 3; h24hr)
Libris (www.libris.si in Slovene; Preernov trg 9; h8am7pm Mon-Fri, 9am-1pm Sat) Bookshop with postcards.
Maki Currency Exchange Bureau (Pristanika ul;
h7.30am-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am-1pm Sat) Compare
rates with Ilirika across the road.
Net Bar (Vojkovo nab 33; h6am-11pm Mon-Fri, 8am11pm Sat, noon-11pm Sun) Twenty minutes free Internet
access when you buy a drink (beers 330SIT).
Pina (%630 03 20; Kidrieva 43; per min adult/student
15/5SIT; h9am-8pm) Internet.
TIC (%664 62 30; www.turizemvkopru.com; Praetorian
Palace, Titov trg 3; h9am-5pm Mon-Fri, to 1pm Sat
Jun-Sep, 9am-9pm Mon-Sat, to noon Sun Jul & Aug) The
TICs useful tourist map includes potted histories of key
buildings.

SLEEPING
Dijaki Dom Koper................... 20 C2

Mladinska

Kopa

Glagoljaka

Ukmarjev
trg

an

As you swing around it on the motorway,


Koper appears to be a sprawling, industrial town dominated by container-port
cranes. Yet its central core is delightfully
quiet, quaint and much less touristy than
nearby Piran. Also, being a working city, its
accommodation is not quite as stretched as
Pirans in summer.

27
nab
liko
r
Belvede
Nazorjev
trg

28

ist

%05 / pop 24,000

Banka Koper (Kidrieva 14; h8.30am-noon & 3-5pm

B4
C3
B2
B2
A2
B4
B3
A3
A3
B3

Koper Bay

17

Information

300 m
0.2 miles

Da Ponte Fountain...................10
Fontico.....................................11
Koper Regional Museum..........12
Loggia......................................13
Medieval Houses..................... 14
Muda Gate.............................. 15
Praetorian Palace......................16
Salt Warehouse........................17
Stone Pillar...............................18
Tower...................................... 19

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES


Cathedral of St Lazarus.............. 8 B2
Church of St Jacobs................... 9 C3

Pr

KOPER

ul

looking over the golf course-like landscape.


For cheaper places drive 3km west to Basovizza in Italy.
Divaa to Lipica is only 10km but theres
no viable public transport. With your own
wheels stop halfway there in the village of
Lokev, where the intriguing 1485 Tabor tower
houses a cheap bar and a little armaments
museum (%767 01 07; h9am-noon & 2-6pm WedFri), just off (and easily visible from) the
main DivaaLipica road.

Kolarieva

ica.org; s/tw low season 50/78, mid-season 58/90, high


season 65/100) has excellently appointed rooms

INFORMATION
Banka Koper............................... 1 B2
Hospital..................................... 2 C2
Ilirika.......................................... 3 A3
Libris ......................................... 4 B3
Maki Currency Exchange Bureau..5 A3
Net Bar...................................... 6 D3
Pina........................................... 7 A2
TIC........................................(see 16)

ul

Since the 18th century, Lipica has been


breeding snow-white Lipizzaner horses for
the world-famous Imperial Spanish Riding
School in Vienna. The village is basically just
a hotel complex and the Stud Farm (%739 15 80;
www.lipica.org; tours per adult/student from 1500/800SIT),
which offers equestrian fans a variety of
rides, lessons and tours (hourly from 11am
to 3pm, finishing later in summer). For comprehensive timetables and prices check the
website carefully. The Hotel Maestoso (www.lip

The joint bus and train station (bicycle


hire available) is 1.4km southeast of central Titov trg. To walk into town, just head
towards the cathedrals Moroccan-style bell
tower; alternatively, take Bus 1, 2 or 3 to the
Muda Gate. Pristanika and Vojkovo nab
mark what was once the southern coast of
the medieval island.

0
0

va

%05 / pop 130

Orientation

K A R S T & C OA S T K o p e r 365

KOPER

ssla

LIPICA

Koper grew rich as a key Venetian salttrading port. Known then as Capodistria,
it was capital of Istria under the 15thand 16th-century Venetian Republic. At
that time it was an island commanding a
U-shaped bay of saline ponds, something
hard to imagine now, given the centuries
of land reclamation that have joined it very
firmly to the mainland.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Re

station. On the way, youll pass the modest Gostilna Risnik (%763 00 08; Kraka 24; s/tw
3500/7000SIT) over a bar 200m from the train
station.
Ljubljana-Koper buses and trains stop
at Divaa half an hour after Postojna.
Kindly staff at the train station often give
visitors a photocopied route map for walking to the caves. Alternatively, stay on the
bus a couple of minutes longer and get
dropped off at a signposted junction just
1.6km from the caves. Timetables rarely
mesh with cave-visit times, but you can
make pleasant short hikes around the
caves visitor centre, where theres a bar
and restaurant for those conserving their
energy.

www.lonelyplanet.com

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

364 K A R S T & C OA S T L i p i c a

22

To Bus & Train Stations


Capris Time (700m)

Sleeping
The station-based Capris Time (%631 15 55; www
.capristime-sp.si; Kolodvorska 11; d Sep-Jun from 28, Jul &
Aug from 32; h8am-4pm Mon-Fri) agency arranges
private rooms with discounts for three-day
stays. Similarly priced rooms are offered by
Kompas (%627 15 81; Pristanika 17; h8am-7pm MonFri, 8am-1pm Sat).
Hotel Koper (%610 05 00; www.terme-catez.si;
Pristanika 3; s/d 55/102; a) This very smartly
renovated business hotel is Kopers most
central.
Pristan Hotel (%614 40 00; fax 614 40 40; Ferrarska 30; s/d 13200/19,800SIT; ai) Yet another
hotel catering to the business traveller,
with starkly modern rooms and suites that
include a computer.

Buses from everywhere except Portoro


arrive at the bus station, just a 300m stroll
along the harbourside Cankarjevo nab from
central Tartinijev trg. Be warned that a car

0
0

PIRAN

Gulf of Trieste

ul

iva

nteje

va

Kr

k
Ro

ul

16

Trail to Beaches;
Fiesa; Hotel
Barbara; Autokamp
Fiesa (700m)

7
a
us

20

18

15

Tartinijev
trg

va

ko

12

l
va u
elso
Eng

Kid

ul
ul

upa

nie

va

Trg
Bratsva

ova ul

Marxo

ev

va ul

39

Gortan

To

ova

nab

B2
C2
C2
B2
B2

man

Piran

36

45
Customs
Wharf

To Fiesa (1.6km)
Town
Walls
To Korotan (1.8km)
Portoro (1.8km)

ul

2
37

va
dno
Gru ul

SLEEPING
Hotel Piran....................................... 21
Hotel Tartini..................................... 22
Maona Travel Agency...................... 23
Max................................................. 24
Turist Biro.........................................25
Val Hostel.........................................26

Piran
Harbour

23 eva
v
Bido
ul

Town
Walls
Roz

ev

arj

nk

Ca

ul
ova
Lenin32

Ul Svobode

rie

vo

nab

ul

33

B2
C2
C3
D2
B2
A1

jeva

ul

44

A1
C3
B2
C2
D2
C1
A1
C2
C2
C2

Dante

%05 / pop 4400

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES


Aquarium........................................... 6
Baptistry.............................................7
Bell Tower.......................................... 8
Cistern................................................9
Dolphin Gate....................................10
Marije Zdravja (St Clement's)
Church......................................... 11
Maritime Museum............................12
Medieval Homes...............................13
Our Lady of the Snows Church........ 14
St Francis Monastery........................ 15
St George's Church...........................16
Subnet..............................................17
Tartini Statue................................... 18
Town Hall........................................ 19
Venetian House............................... 20

Hospital

Ul IX

ul

en

Stj

rave club, featuring a procession of international star DJs.


Regular KoperPiran bendy-buses drive
via Izola.

C2
C3
C4
C2
C2

Kajuhova
ul

43

22
Marina

3
INFORMATION
Banka Koper.......................................1
Cyber Point Piran............................... 2
Hospital..............................................3
Library................................................4
TIC.....................................................5

au

lni

Bo

14

46

eva
6

24

rp

21

19

Ul IX

Ko

et
ark

Savudrijsk

ma

Bathing
Area

42

(%641 82 12; www.ambasada-gavioli.com; Industrija c;


hSat & party nights from midnight) is Slovenias top

Little Piran (Pirano in Italian) is as picturesque a port as you can imagine, especially
when viewed at sunset from the saw-toothed
16th-century walls that guard its hilly western flank. In summer the town gets pretty
overrun by tourists, but in April or October
its hard not to fall in love with the winding Venetian-Gothic alleyways and tempting fish restaurants. The name derives from
pyr (Greek for fire), referring to the Punta
lighthouse at the tip of the towns peninsula. Since misty antiquity, this lighthouse

ul

To

Piran Bay

rooms or you can head to the most centrally located hotel, the Hotel Marina (%660

PIRAN

va

Sonno nabreje 4; 10am-5pm Mon-Fri Oct-May, 9.30amnoon & 2-6pm daily June-Sep) can help find private

More expensive rooms have sea views. Out


in Izolas industrial suburbs, Ambasada Gavioli

ie

Trub

arje
idovski va ul
9
trg
rie
Trg 1
41
va ul
Verdijeva
Maja
40
ul
34
Levstikov
au
31
l
35
Obzi
dna u
10
l
13
Kosovelova
38
ul
25
Tomaiev
trg

eg

30

am

va

27

Ad

28

Viva

Ve

sa

va

go

26

ije

%05 / pop 11,000

41 00; www.belvedere.si; Veliki trg 11; s 12,000-19,000SIT,


d 13,400-20,600SIT p) right on the main square.

Preernovo nab
17 29

11 Punta
Turiev
trg
Pre
er
no
vo
na

va ul

Shore Dive
Access

200 m
0.1 miles

Korpu

Gr

low diners at the two communal tables of


this characterful old wine cellar-restaurant.
Meals are authentic and accompanied by
typical, inexpensive Teran wine from the
cask.
Loggia caf (%627 41 71; wine per glass from 250SIT;
h7am-10pm) Opposite the Praetorian Palace,
this splendid 1463 building now houses an
elegant yet affordable caf with several good
wines by the glass.
Skipper (%626 18 10; Kopaliko nab 3; meals from
1900SIT; h 9am-10pm) In the sunshine, the
marina-view terrace of this otherwise rather
characterless, upstairs restaurant is the place
to eat fresh fish (7700SIT per kilogram).
Delfi (Pristanika ul; snacks 190-400SIT; h10am10pm) Good-value burek (a pie made with
various fillings and filo pastry) and pizza
slices that you can eat on a fairly pleasant
terrace. There are other bars and eateries in
adjoining units.
Slaiarna Krotola (ice-cream cones 160SIT;
h8am-9pm) Perched on Kopers pitifully
small pebble beach, the Krotola is the best
positioned of several alluring ice-cream
parlour cafs.
Skica (%627 2242; evljarska 29; h7.30am-midnight Mon-Sat, noon-11pm Sun) This rough-edged,
thoroughly local bar has a little photogallery and a taste for blues music, and
serves screwdrivers made with freshly
squeezed oranges. Squint and youll see
Janis Joplin.

Orientation

IZOLA
Overshadowed by much nicer Piran and
swamped by vacationing local children, foreign visitors tend to bypass Izola. However,
it does have a minor Venetian charm, a few
narrow old alleys, and some nice waterfront
bars and restaurants. The TIC (%640 10 50;

is an encumbrance not a help in Piran.


Vehicles are stopped at a tollgate 200m south
of the bus station where the sensible choice
is to use the huge Fornae car park. You
could take a ticket and drive on in to the
centre but old Piran is so small, parking is so
limited and its alleyways so narrow (mostly
footpaths) that youre likely to regret it.

ac

Istrska Klet (%627 67 29; upanieva 39; meals from


1200SIT; h7am-9pm) Squeeze together with fel-

has helped ships reach the great salt-port


at Koper.

nif

Eating & Drinking

Buses run to Piran (610SIT, 30 minutes) frequently on weekdays from 5am to 10.15pm,
and every 40 minutes at weekends. Up to 10
buses daily run to Ljubljana (2620SIT, two
to 2 hours), though the train is more comfortable (2040SIT, 2 hours, four daily).
Buses to Trieste (690SIT/3, one hour,
Monday to Saturday) run nine times daily,
usually winding along the coast via Ankaran and Muggia. Destinations in Croatia
include Rijeka (2000SIT,), Rovinj (3.55pm
daily June to September), Pula (2700SIT,
2pm) via Pore (1700SIT) plus up to three
to Pore only, notably at 7.30am Monday to
Friday. There are summer ferries to Istria
and Zadar, Croatia (see p404).

K A R S T & C OA S T Pi r a n 367

Bo

bus and train station, this somewhat anonymous new hotel has clean, no-nonsense
motel-style rooms.
Motel Port (%639 32 60; Ankaranska 7; r 11,000SIT)
Hidden on the top floor of a Mondrianesque
shopping centre, this brand-new place has
excellent ensuite rooms. However, its position beside the truck terminal results in a
deep traffic rumble, and the mainly male,
lorry-driver clientele may discourage single
women. Air-con costs 1000SIT extra.
Dijaki Dom Koper (%662 62 50; www.d-dom
.kp.edus.si; Cankarjeva 5; dm 3500SIT; hJul-Aug) In
July and August this brilliantly central
student dorm becomes a hostel.

Getting There & Away

www.lonelyplanet.com

Rossla

Hotel Vodiek (%639 36 68; www.hotel-vodisek


.com; Kolodvorska c 2; s/d early Sepmid-Jul 40/60, midJulearly Sep 56.80/85; pa) Halfway to the

www.lonelyplanet.com

To Fornae Car Park (200m);


Portoro Centre (5km);
Izola (9km); Koper (17km)

EATING
Bife Ivo.............................................27
Fontana............................................28
Galeb................................................29
Gostilna Piran...................................30
Mercator Supermarket......................31
Mercator Supermarket..................... 32
No in Dan...................................... 33
Pavel................................................34
Pavel 2.............................................35
Pirat................................................. 36
Sante Caffe.................................... 37
Stara Gostilna...................................38

A1
B1
B1
A2
B2
C3
C4
B2
B2
C4
C3
B2

Surf.................................................. 39 C4
Tri Vdove......................................... 40 B2
Verdi................................................ 41 B2
DRINKING
Cafe Teater.......................................42 B3
Zizola Kantina.................................. 43 C2
TRANSPORT
Bus Station....................................... 44 B4
Catamaran to Venice........................45 B4
Shuttle Buses to Fornae Car Park &
Portoro-Lucija ........................... 46 C2

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

366 K A R S T & C OA S T I z o l a

Information
Banka Koper (Tartinijev trg; h8.30am-noon & 3-5pm
Mon-Fri, 8.30am-noon Sat) Money exchange and ATM.

Cyber Point Piran (%671 00 24; Zupaniieva 14;


per hr 1000SIT; h9am-noon & 6-8pm Mon-Fri) Student
centre and Internet connection.
Hospital (%677 33 20; Cankarjevo 9; h24hr)
Library (%671 08 70; Tartinijev trg; membership
500SIT; h10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm Sat) Housed in
the attractive old courthouse building, the library has one
rather slow Internet computer for members.
TIC (%673 02 20; www.piran.si; Town Hall, Tartinijev
trg; h10am-5pm Tue-Fri, 9am-2pm Sat & Sun Oct-May,
9am-1pm & 3-9pm daily Jun-Sep) Has maps, accommodation listings and excursion ideas.

Sights & Activities


Piran is dominated by St Georges Church
(Adamieva 2; h temporarily closed for renovation)

whose soaring 1609 bell tower was clearly


modelled on the San Marco Campanile in
Venice. The 1650 octagonal baptistry (krstilnica) has imaginatively recycled a 2ndcentury Roman sarcophagus for use as its
font. St Francis Monastery (Bolnika 20), just west
of Tartinijev trg, has a delightful cloister
and while youre passing, notice the superb
15th-century arch painting in nearby Our
Lady of the Snows Church. The Maritime Museum
(%671 00 40; Cankarjevo nab 3; adult/student 600/500SIT;
h9am-noon & 3-6pm Tue-Sun) is in a fine marina-

side mansion with 2000-year-old Roman


amphorae (jars) beneath the glass ground
floor, and lots of impressive model boats
upstairs.
One of Pirans most eye-catching structures is the red 15th-century Venetian House
(Beneke Hia; Tartinijev trg 4), with its tracery windows and stone lion relief. When built this
would have surveyed Pirans inner port;
however, the inner port was filled in 1894 to
form Tartinijev trg. The square was named
for violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini
(16921770) who was born at whats now
No 7. His statue stands in the squares middle. The square is dominated by the large,
porticoed 19th-century Town Hall, which
houses the tourist office.
Pirans greatest appeal is probably the
chance to wander idly through the narrow
alleys as they burrow and weave between
antique houses. Behind the market, medieval homes (Obzidna ul) have been built into
an ancient defensive wall thats punctured
by the Dolphin Gate (Dolfinova Vrata).

www.lonelyplanet.com

The anachronistically named Trg 1 Maja


(1st May Sq) may sound like a socialist
parade ground but in fact its one of Pirans
cutest squares, with a 19th-century, statueguarded cistern pool in the middle.
Punta, the historical nose of Piran, still
has a lighthouse, but todays is small and
modern. Just behind it, however, the round,
serrated-top tower of 18th-century Marije
Zdravja Church (alternatively referred to as St
Clements) evokes the ancient pyr beacon
that made Pirans name.
Back near the centre, theres a miniAquarium (%673 25 72; Kidrievo nab 4; admission
500SIT; h10am-noon & 2-7pm Sepmid-Jun, 9am-10pm
mid-JunAug) which shows living examples of

several species that might soon grace your


plate in a nearby restaurant. The most
unusual underwater sight hereabouts is the
wreck of a WWII seaplane in Portoro Bay.
To see that youll need to go scuba diving.
Subnet (%041 590 746; www.sub-net.si; Preernovo
nab 24), a well-equipped dive shop offering
PADI open-water courses, can organise the
necessary boat dives from 21.50 per person (minimum four divers).

Sleeping
Pirans accommodation options are limited.
For loads more choice but less style, try
Portoro, stretched out 2km to 7km away.
Finding a room in both Piran and Portoro
is very tough indeed in midsummer, when
you might do better to visit Piran as a day
trip from Izola or Koper.
Max (%041 692 928; IX Korpusa 26; www.maxpiran
.com; d 60-70) Pirans most romantic accommodation has only six rooms, each named
rather than numbered. Upper floors look
out towards the church tower.
Hotel Barbara (%690 40 00; www.metropolgroup
.si; s 15,000-22,000SIT, d 19,000-27,200SIT; s) This
good-value holiday hotel is one of two at
Fiesa pebble-beach, a 1km-long shore-front
walk east along the north coast from St
Georges Church.
Hotel Tartini (% 671 16 66; www.hotel-tartini
-piran.com; Tartinijev trg 15; s/d/apt 66/96/178) Right
on the central square, Hotel Tartinis faade
looks misleadingly traditional, yet the interior attempts a dramatic display of trendy
modernism. The effect is impressive and
the apartment amazing. However, several
of the ordinary rooms already have touches
of peeling paint and some balconies are so

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minuscule they barely exist. Add a supplement of 5 for rooms with views.
Hotel Piran (% 676 21 00; www.hoteli-piran.si;
Stjenkova 1; s from 53-68, d from 82-108; ai)

Smart, business-standard accommodation


in the town centres ugliest building. More
expensive rooms have sea views and air-con
but everyone gets Internet and wi-fi access.
Val Hostel (% 673 25 55; www.hostel-val.com;
Gregorieva 38A; dm IYHA member 18-23, nonmember
20-24) Book well ahead for this superbly cen-

tral hostel-penzion with shared bathrooms.


Theres a 2 surcharge for one-night stays.
Autokamp Fiesa (% 674 62 30; camp sites per
person low/high season 7.50/8.35; hMay-Sep) This
insecure handkerchief of grass behind a
grotty caravan park is nonetheless packed
full in summer, being just 1km from Piran,
near Hotel Barbara.
Private rooms are available through Maona
travel agency (%674 03 63; www.maona.si; Cankarjevo
nab 7; h9am-7pm Mon-Sat, 10am-2pm some Sun) starting at 19/31 a single/double in high season plus an additional 50% for stays shorter
than three days. Turist Biro (%673 25 09; www
.turistbiro-ag.si; Tomaiev trg) lists similarly priced
rooms but asks a 14 reservation fee.

Eating & Drinking


One of Pirans attractions is its plethora
of fish restaurants, though dont expect
any bargains. Virtually all charge around
1300SIT to 1500SIT for a plate of grilled
squid, from 8000SIT per kilogram for fish
and 400SIT to 500SIT for potatoes. Almost
all open from 11am to 10pm or later in
summer.
Galeb (%673 32 25; Pusterla 5; h11am-3pm &
6-11.30pm Wed-Mon) Many visitors adore
Galebs family atmosphere and the homestyle Slovenian food is equally popular.
Sante Caffe (Cankarjevo nab; sandwiches 300-500SIT;
h7am-midnight) This caf has sandwiches and
salads, and walls painted in colours as vivid
as its excellent ice creams.
Pavel 2 (%674 71 02; Kosovelova 1) Its marginally the suavest of the main sea-facing row
of restaurants that includes the essentially
similar Gostilna Piran, Bife Ivo, Pavel and
Tri Vdove.
Inland you might prefer the characterful atmosphere of Stara Gostilna (%041 641
020; Savurdrijska 2), the cistern-facing setting
of Fontana (%673 12 00; Trg 1 Maja), or smart
little Verdi (%673 27 37; Verdijeva ul), which on

K A R S T & C OA S T P o r t o r o 369

summer days spills out onto the nearby


square of Savudrijska ul.
Dining is marginally cheaper at Pirat
(%673 14 81; Cankarjevo nab) and Surf (%673 11
75; Grudnova ul) towards the bus station. The
latter has outdoor tables shaded by a rare
little patch of greenery, and medium pizzas
from 800SIT. The Hotel Piran restaurant
does 1100SIT lunch deals. Hop on the No 1
shuttle bus to Portoro-Lucija for Mexican
or Chinese food.
Piran has two Mercator supermarkets at
Levstikova 6 and Bratsva trg 1, but minimart No in Dan (Cankarjevo nab; h6am-midnight)
opens longer.
Cafe Teater (Kidrievo nab) Behind the Aquarium, atmospheric but expensive Cafe Teater
is Pirans top pub and has a lively terrace.
Zizola Kantina (Tartinijev trg; h9am-midnight) An
appealing nautically-themed bar, with tables
right on the main square.

Getting There & Away


From the bus station buses run every 20 to
40 minutes to Koper (610SIT) via Izola, five
per day head to Trieste (1290SIT, 1 hours,
Monday to Saturday) and up to eight to
Ljubljana (2720SIT, 2 to three hours) via
Divaa and Postojna.
From Tartinijev trg, minibuses shuttle to
Portoro-Lucija (minibus 1, 400SIT) and
Portoro via Strunjan (minibus 3). Theres
also a free shuttle to the car park, but its
generally more comfortable and often
quicker to walk. Piran and Izola dispatch
catamarans to Venice at least once a week.

PORTORO
%05 / pop 13,000

In a long arc of woodland-backed bay,


Slovenias big hotel-resort town of Portoro
(Portorose) is not unpleasant, but its not
much of an attraction either. The only
beaches are pay-to-enter handkerchiefs
of imported sand; if you want seaside fun
youd be better off continuing on to Croatia.
Nonetheless, its vast assortment of accommodation makes Portoro a useful fall back
if everythings full in nearby Piran. Greater
Portoro stretches in a 5km-long arc, technically consisting of four subdistricts. From
west (Piran side) to east these are Bernardin, Korotan, Portoro Centre and Lucija,
though theres no noticeable boundaries
between these districts. All are linked by the

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

368 K A R S T & C OA S T Pi r a n

5km-long curve of Obala, the main avenue


and nearest road to the shore.
Full accommodation listings are available
at the tourist information office (%674 22 20; www
.portoroz.si; Obala 16; h10am-5pm Sep-Jun, 9am-1.30pm
& 3-9.30pm Jul & Aug) or from Piran TIC (p368).

Handily close to Piran, the unusually upmarket, summer-only Hotel Riviera and Hotel
Slovenija (%692 00 00; www.hoteli-morje.si; Obala 33;
s 83-119, d 110-163; pns) are two sister
hotels joined at the hip and are good choices
if you want to stay someplace central. The
renovated Riviera has 176 rooms, three fabulous swimming pools and the Wai Thai
spa. Both have four stars. Prenoia Korotan
(%674 54 00; www.prenocisca-korotan.vsk-sdp.si; Obala
11, Korotan; d 89.60; hJul & Aug; i) has ensuite

rooms and its Internet computers are open


to nonguests year-round.
There are dozens of decent pizzerias all
along Obala. In the Grand Hotel Metropol,
San Lorenzo (%690 10 00; Obala 77; meals around
3500SIT) is arguably Portoros best. For a
change, try the very atmospheric Mexican
taverna Papa Chico (%677 93 10; Obala 26; meals
from 2000SIT; h11am-midnight).
Every 20 minutes shuttle bus 1 from
Piran trundles right along Obala to Lucija,
passing the Prenoia Korotan. From Bernardin and Korotan you could even walk
into Piran in around 45 minutes, though
the roads are unpleasantly busy.

SEOVLJE
%05 / pop 200

About 7km southeast of Portoro, in


no-mans-land between the Slovenian and
Croatian borders, is the fascinating Seovlje
Salt-making Museum (%671 00 40; adult/student
600/500SIT; h9am-6pm Apr-May & Sep-Oct, 9am-8pm
Jun-Aug). In one restored house theres an

interesting little exhibition of salt-makers


equipment and lifestyles. Poignantly, many
of the antique-looking photos were taken a
mere 45 years ago. However, museum is a
misleading term, as the main attraction is
the eerily desolate landscape sparsely dotted with abandoned old salt-diggers homes
amid a paddy-like patchwork of saltpans.
Salt production here, at Koper and at Strunjan (between Piran and Izola) was once the
regions economic raison dtre. What may
look like simple square evaporation ponds
are in fact the fruit of exceedingly complex
engineering. Working entirely on wind and

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tidal power, these were the ultimate examples of ecoenergy efficiency. Dont stand
in the mud or youll destroy a painstakingly cultivated skin of protective algae
which keeps the salt white. The dedicated
staff laboriously maintain the delicate pools
and still produce salt, which you can buy in
souvenir burlap minisacks.
If you dont have your own vehicle or
bicycle, the only practical way to visit
Seovlje is a 9.30am boat ride from Piran
(2600SIT return, including admission).
The main problem with this is that youre
locked into a whole-day excursion, since
boats dont usually return to pick you up
until 4pm. Realistically an hour or so would
be ample to get the idea.

EASTERN SLOVENIA
The rolling vineyard hills of eastern Slovenia are attractive but much less dramatic
than the Julian Alps. If youre taking a bus
from Ljubljana to Zagreb (Croatia), look
left immediately after leaving Novo Mesto
bus station (youll stop briefly at the station)
for picturesque views of Novo Mestos oldtown core rising directly across the Krka
River. Travelling by car it would be nicer
to drive via charming Kamnik then crosscountry via chocolate-box villages like Motnik, big but pleasant Celje and the tiny but
elegant spa-village Rogaka Slatina.
If youre heading by train to Vienna via
Graz (Austria) it saves money to stop in
lively Maribor; international tickets are very
expensive per kilometre, so doing as much
travelling as possible on domestic trains
saves cash. While there, consider visiting
postcard-perfect Ptuj.

KAMNIK
%02 / pop 11,500

Magnificent views from the central ruins


of Kamniks old castle (stari grad) make for
awesome photos, thanks to the perfect conjugation of red-tiled roofs, church towers
and a dramatically close horizon of jostling snow-streaked peaks. Otherwise the
towns charm is focused around its mostly
pedestrianised main street, the very attractive utna ul/Glavny trg, along which are
several appealing galleries and cafs. As this
is all just two minutes walk west of the

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bus station, Kamnik makes an easy half-day


excursion from Ljubljana, 23km south.
Buses from Ljubljana (580SIT, 45 minutes) run almost every 30 minutes on weekdays. If you take the hourly train (470SIT,
45 minutes, hourly to 8.15pm), hop off at
derelict-looking Kamnik Mesto, one stop
after the main Kamnik station. The old castle is barely 100m east.

CEL JE
%03 / pop 40,000

While probably not worth a special detour,


Celje has a long history, Roman remains
and many elements of charm. A quick stopover is easy: all LjubljanaMaribor trains
stop here. Walk west out of the train station
along grand, pedestrianised Krekov trg,
which becomes Preernova at the halfway
bend. After 700m youll reach the imposing Narodni Dom, in the side of which is the
tourist information office (%426 57 66; www.celje
.si; Trg celjskih knezov 9; h8am-4pm Mon-Fri), handy
for maps and inspiration. A short dogleg
south and east from here is an arcaded
palace containing the interesting Pokrajinski
Museum (www2.arnes.si/~pokmuzce/index1.htm in
Slovene; Muzejski trg; admission 800SIT; h10am-6pm
Tue-Sun). Far and away its greatest attraction

is a truly magnificent 17th-century trompe


loeil ceiling, the Celje Ceiling (Celjski
strop), discovered in 1926.
West of the museum, attractive, time-warp
Glavni trg has some pleasant terrace cafs and
a plague pillar. Swerve round St Daniels Church
(Slomkov trg) and south down Savinjska to a fine
riverside viewpoint (Savinsjsko nab). Youll spot St
Cecilias Church (Maistrova ul) directly across the
water, up a curious covered stairway. Harder
to make out to its west is a reconstructed
2nd-century Temple of Hercules. Very obvious
on a hill top high above to the southeast is
the impressive if awkward-to-reach Celje Castle. From the viewpoint, walk five minutes
northeast to return to the train station, passing medieval water- and defence-towers that
incorporate recycled Roman stone blocks.
Trains to Ljubljana (1580SIT, 1 hours)
depart up to 28 times daily.

Around Celje
EMPETER

%03 / pop 1945 / elev 257m

Twelve kilometres west of Celje and accessible by bus and train, empeter is the site

E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A C e l j e 371

of a Roman necropolis (Rimska Nekropola; %700 20


56; www.td-sempeter.si; Ob Rimski Nekropoli 2; adult/child
700/500SIT; h10am-6pm Apr-Sep, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun
Oct) reconstructed between 1952 and 1966.
The burial ground contains four complete
tombs and scores of columns, stelae and
fragments carved with portraits, mythological creatures and scenes from daily life.
They have been divided into about two
dozen groups linked by footpaths.
If you get hungry, Gostie torman (%703
83 00; empeter 5a; meals from 3500SIT; h7am-midnight), one of the first private restaurants to

open in Slovenia under the former regime,


is about 2km east of the site on the road
to Celje.
LOGARSKA DOLINA

%03 / pop 95 / elev to 1200m

Logarska Dolina is about 40km northwest


of Celje, near the Austrian border. Most of
the glacial Forester Valley about 7.5km
long and no more than 500m wide has
been a country park of 2438 hectares since
1987. This pearl of the Alpine region with
more than 30 natural attractions, such as
caves, springs, peaks and waterfalls, is a
wonderful place to spend a few days hiking
and exploring.
Information
Tourist office (%838 90 04; www.logarska-dolina.si;
Logarska Dolina 9; h9am-1pm Apr-Sep) In a small kiosk
in the Plesnik Hotel car park.
Sights & Activities

Logarska Dolina Country Park (Krajinski Park


Logarska Dolina) is open year-round, but
from April to September (and at weekends only in October) cars and motorcycles entering the park must pay 1000SIT
and 700SIT respectively; pedestrians and
cyclists get in free. A road goes past a chapel
and through the woods to Rinka Waterfall
(Slap Rinka), but there are plenty of trails to
explore and up to 20 other waterfalls in the
area.
The bottom of the Rinka Waterfall is a
10-minute walk from the end of the valley
road. The climb to the top takes about 20
minutes. Its not very difficult, but it can
get slippery. From the top to the west you
can see three peaks reaching higher than
2200m: Kranjska Rinka, Koroka Rinka and
tajerska Rinka. Until 1918 they formed the

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370 E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A K a m n i k

triple border of Carniola (Kranjska), Carinthia (Koroka) and Styria (tajerska).


Opposite the mountain hut of Dom Planincev is a trail leading to Suica Waterfall and
Klemena Cave.
Another magnificent and much less
explored valley, the 6km-long Matkov Kot,
runs parallel to Logarska Dolina and the
border with Austria. You can reach here by
road by turning west as you leave Logarska
Dolina. There are several farmhouses with
accommodation in the valley.
The tourist office can organise any
number of activities: from horse riding and
coach rides (for up to five people) to paragliding, guided mountaineering and rock climbing. It also hires mountain bikes.
Sleeping & Eating
Plesnik Hotel (%839 23 00; www.plesnik.si; Logarska
Dolina 10; s 60, d 76-81; p) A 30-room hotel in

the centre of the valley with a pool, sauna,


a fine restaurant (open 7am to 9pm) and
lovely public area.
Juvanija farmhouse (%838 90 80; juvanija@email
.si; Logarska Dolina 8; per person 19) Just inside the
entrance to the park, this farmhouse has
four rooms.
Lenar farmhouse (%838 90 06; logarska@siol.net;
Logarska Dolina 11; per person 19) Another farmhouse
with four rooms, a couple of kilometres further south.
Dom Planincev (%584 70 06, 031 269 785; Logarska Dolina 15a; per person 15) This mountain hut
2.5km from Rinka has a relaxed, rustic feel
to it.
Getting There & Away

From Mozirje, there is an hourly bus service to Celje on weekdays but only two on
Saturday. There are five to eight buses a
day to Gornji Grad, five (one on Sunday)
to Solava and six (one on Sunday) to
Velenje. One bus a day on weekdays from
May to September makes its way from Celje
to Logarska Dolina and the Rinka Waterfall
car park.
From Gornji Grad, buses go to Ljubljana
(four a day on weekdays, one on Saturday and Sunday), Celje (six a day), Kamnik (five, with one or two at the weekend),
Ljubno (three, with one at the weekend)
and Mozirje (one during the week). Theres
a 7.51am bus on Sunday to Logarska Dolina
from June to September only.

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PODSREDA CASTLE

%03 / elev 475m

Perched on a hill south of the village of


Podsreda (population 210), the castle
(Grad Podsreda; %800 71 00; Podsreda 45; adult/child
600/500SIT; h10am-6pm Tue-Sun May-Oct, to 4pm TueSun Mar & Apr) looks pretty much the way it

did when it was built as Hrberg in about


1200. A barbican on the southern side,
with walls three metres thick, leads to a
central courtyard. The rooms in the castle
wings, some with beamed ceilings and ancient chandeliers, now contain a rather dull
glassworks exhibit (crystal from Rogaka
Slatina, vials from the Olimje pharmacy,
green Pohorje glass). However, the tiny
Romanesque chapel is worth the visit, and
theres a wonderful collection of prints of
tajerskas castles and monasteries taken
from Topographii Ducatus Stiria (1681) by
Georg Mattus Vischer (162896). Theres
also a medieval kitchen and a dungeon hidden beneath a staircase. The view from the
castle windows of the Kozjansko countryside and the pilgrimage church on Svete Gore
(386m) above Bistrica ob Sotli are superb.
A rough, winding 5km-long road leads
to the castle, but you can also reach it
via a relatively steep 2km trail from Stari
Trg, less than 1km southeast of Podsreda
village. If youve built up an appetite climbing up and down those hills, theres a small
gostilna called Pri Martinu (%580 61 20; Podsreda
47; meals 1700SIT) in the village, which has a
vine-covered terrace and also rents rooms
(3000SIT per person).
Getting to Podsreda is tricky if you dont
have your own wheels. The only option is
to catch the one daily bus to Kozje from
Celje and there wait for the one headed
for Bistrica ob Sotli, which passes through
Podsreda village.

ROGAKA SLATINA
Slovenias oldest health retreat defies easy
description. Its simultaneously grand yet
rural, stylish yet ugly, bustling yet tranquil.
For locals, the overwhelming attraction is
magnesium-rich Donat-Mg spring water,
which is sold expensively in bottles throughout Slovenia, but can be drunk direct from
the spring here. Well almost. Dont imagine a limpid forest pool someones built
a multistorey 1970s glass monstrosity on
top of the spring (admission 300SIT). However,

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this eyesore is in a beautifully manicured


park, and in front of it, facing the lawns of
Zdravilki trg, the Grand Hotel looks something like a golden-yellow Buckingham
Palace and has a vast chandeliered ballroom
to match. At the other (southern) end of
Zdravilki trg is the tourist office (%581 44
14; www.rogaska-slatina.si; h9am-4pm Mon-Fri, to noon
Sat), bus station, and the Escheresque Hotel

Slovenija, with columns supporting nothing


in particular. There are plenty more hotels (see www.terme-rogaska.si), all aimed
at cure seekers who spend a week or so
mooching about in dressing gowns, sipping
the miracle waters hot, cold, fizzy or flat
from curious tall, narrow glasses.
Of course, the pure air and simple living
are probably as healthy as the sip-sipping.
This then casts the brilliant 1904 Art Nouveau tavern Tempel (h8am-1am Mon-Thu, to
3am Fri & Sat) in the devils role of temptress.
Water or beer? Choose both a half litre
of Donat-Mg supposedly prevents even the
most well-earned hangover after a night on
the tiles. Youll find Tempel in a park just
off Kidreva (the main Celje road), where it
bypasses the southern end of Zdravilka trg
by a hundred metres or so.
Rogaka Slatinas also famous for colourful glassware, notably displayed in the Hotel
Donat, on the way to its inhouse casino.
The tourist office may be able to arrange
private accommodation.
The Grand Hotel Rogaka (%811 20 00; www
.terme-rogaska.com; Zdraviliki trg 10; s/d from 90/190),
Styria and Strossmayer Hotels (s/d from 58/100;
pns) three interconnected hotels
on the eastern side of Zdraviliki trg, with
more than 400 beds between them are
the crme de la crme of accommodation
in Rogaka Slatina. The three-star Styria
and Strossmayer date from the mid-19th
century and the spectacular Grand, with
four stars, from 1913.
The only convenient public transport
access is from Celje; buses (800SIT, 40 minutes) run up to twice hourly on weekdays.
Also from Celje, Rogatec-bound trains
(620SIT, 50 minutes, five daily) stop 300m
south of Rogaka Slatina bus station.

DOLENJSKE TOPLICE
%07 / pop 750 / elev 179m

Within easy striking distance of Novo


Mesto (13km to the northeast), this thermal

E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A D o l e n j s k e T o p l i c e 373

resort is the oldest and one of the few real


spa towns in Slovenia. Located in the karst
valley of the Krka River below the wooded
slopes of Koevski Rog, Dolenjske Toplice
is an excellent place in which to hike, cycle,
fish or simply relax.
The first spa opened here in 1658, and
Strascha Tplitz, as it was then called (after
the nearby town of Straa), became a great
favourite of Austrians from around the late
19th century up to WWI. The complex was
used as a Partisan hospital during WWII.

Orientation & Information


Dolenjske Toplice lies about 1.5km south of
the Krka River on a stream called the Suica.
Everything of importance is on or just off
the main street, Zdraviliki trg. Buses stop
just south of and opposite the post office.
Contact the tourist office (%384 51 88; www.do
lenjske-toplice.si; Zdraviliki trg 8; h10am-5pm Mon-Fri,
10am-noon & 3-6pm Sat, 10am-noon Sun) for informa-

tion about the region and its activities and


the spa (www.krka-zdravilisca.si) for information
about the health and wellness treatments.

Activities
HIKING

A number of walks and bike paths of less


than 5km can be made from Dolenjske
Toplice, or you might consider hiking in
the virgin forests of Koevski Rog.
Marked paths listed on the free pamphlet
Dolenjske Toplice Cycle and Footpaths include a 3.5km archaeological walk west
to Cvinger (263m), where Hallstatt tombs
and iron foundries have been unearthed.
Nature-lovers may be interested in the nature trail in the forest just west of Podturn
(2km), which also takes in a small cave and
the ruins of Roek Castle.
THERMAL SPAS

Taking the waters is the sine qua non of


Dolenjske Toplice: the warm mineral water
(36 to 38C) gushing from 1000m below
the two covered thermal pools at the Vital
Hotel is ideal for ailments such as rheumatism and can avert backache. The health
resort also offers any number of other types
of therapy, from underwater massage to
aromatherapy.
The indoor and outdoor thermal pools
in the Lagoon section of the Balnea Wellness
Centre (h9am-8pm Sun-Thu, 9am-11pm Fri & Sat)

SLOVENIA

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372 E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A R o g a k a S l a t i n a

Eating
The health resorts main restaurant is the
ornately decorated dining room of the
Kristal Hotel, where most guests on half or
full board take their meals.
Gostilna Rog (%391 94 00; Zdraviliki trg 22; meals
from 2300SIT; h9am-10pm Mon-Sat, to 7pm Sun) On
the edge of the park, the Horn serves traditional Slovenian dishes and has folk music
from 8pm on Friday and Saturday.
Gostie Raka (%306 55 10; Maksa Henigmana 15;
meals 1500SIT; h8am-11pm Mon-Thu, 8am-midnight Fri
& Sat, 10am-11pm Sun Jul & Aug, 8am-10pm Mon-Thu,

Sights
The centre of the Old Town, Grajski trg,
is graced with a 17th-century Column of St
Florian, dedicated to the patron of firefighting.
Maribor Castle (Mariborski Grad; Grajski trg 2;
adult/child 600/300SIT; h9am-5pm Tue-Sat, 10am-2pm
Sun), on the squares northeastern corner,

To Maribor
Lake (4.5km)

ul

c
Par
tiza
nsk
a

21

Meljska

Partizanska c

a ul

rnik

Plina

Ul Heroja landra

20

Mlinska

Sodna ul

Melje

Ul Kneza Koclja

a
vsk
Draul

17 14

idovska ul
10
7
ul
Usnjarska
Water
Tower

Oreko nab

Drava River

To Pod-Pohorje;
Gostilna Pohorka
(6km)

is a successor to the Piramida fortress of


medieval times. The 15th-century castle
contains a Festival Hall (Viteka Dvorana)
with a remarkably disproportionate ceiling
painting, the baroque Loretska Chapel and
a magnificent rococo staircase (1759), with
pink walls, stucco work and figures arrayed
on the banisters.
The castle also contains the Maribor
Regional Museum (Pokrajinski Muzej Maribor; %228
35 51; www.pmuzej-mb.si), with one of the richest
collections in Slovenia, closed for renovation at the time of writing, but there are
occasional temporary exhibits.
Two caf-packed blocks southwest of
Grajski trg, the cathedral (Slomkov trg) sits in
an oasis of fountain-cooled calm. Follow
Maribor

Maribor
Train Station

11

Titova

19

ul

To Hotel
Tabor (800m)

16

Ul Vita Kraighe
rija

a ul

ul

oska

ul

Svetozarevsk

ul

Main Bridge

Ob Bregu Pristan
Lent

Rotovki
trg

Glavni
trg

Trg
Svobode

Tito Bridge

Ko
Vodnikov roka
Votrg
jan
ika
ul

Vetri

15

Potna ul

Ruka

13

a ul

Maistrova ul

Grajski
12 trg 3

Jurieva

Gosp

Oronov

TRANSPORT
Bus Station...............................20 D3
Local Buses.............................. 21 D2

Razlagova ul
Rakuev
trg

18

Slomkov trg

DRINKING
Pivnica Alf................................(see 9)
Pivnica tajerc..........................19 B3

Trg
Borisa
Kidria

nsk
j a

Mikoieva ul

ul

Slovenska

osvteska c

Mesarski
prehod

ul

Gosp

ga

150SIT; h9am-10pm Mon-Fri, to 2pm Sat) Central, fast


and modern Internet access.
Nova KBM (46 Partizanska c; h8am-1pm & 2-5pm
Mon-Fri) Changes travellers cheques.
Post office (Slomkov Trg; h8am-7pm Mon-Fri,
to 1pm Sat) This architectural masterpiece is painted
goose-dropping green and draped with statues. Like
other branches at Partizanska c 54 and Partizanska c 1,
it changes money.
TIC (%234 66 11; www.maribor-tourism.si; Partinzanska
c 47; h9am-6pm Mon-Fri, to 1pm Sat) Helpful, especially for motorists seeking vinska cestas (wine routes). The
office is handily opposite the train station.

Gregorieva ul

General
Maistrov trg

B3
A4
A3
C2

Takos.......................................17 A4
Zimski Vrt Zamorc....................18 B3

To Club VIP Garni


Hotel (100m);
Piramida (850m)

City Park

rke

Youll find ATMs all over town and in the


bus and train stations.
Hospital (%228 62 00; Talcev 9; h24hr)
KIT/Kibla (%252 44 40; Glavny trg 14; per 30min

EATING
Ancora.....................................13
Gril Ranca................................ 14
Market.....................................15
Mercator Supermarket............. 16

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES


Cathedral...................................6 A3
Jewish Tower............................. 7 B4
Maribor Castle........................... 8 B2
Maribor Regional Museum......(see 8)
Old Vine.................................... 9 A4
Synagogue...............................10 B4

Go

This renovated village house to the east of


the centre has two-, three- and four-bed
rooms with bathroom and TV that are
cheaper for long stays.
Gostie Pri Tomljetu (%306 50 23, 031 643 345;
Zdraviliki trg 24; s/d/tr 2750/5000/7500SIT) None of
the eight rooms in this guesthouse behind
the Balnea complex has its own bathroom,
but each has a sink, and cooking facilities
are available.

Information

C4
A3
B3
A3
D2

400 m

0.2 miles

Preernova ul

-luzar.si; Maksa Henigmana 15; d/apt 42/46-55; a )

Slovenias light-industrial second city has no


unmissable sights, but oozes with charm
thanks to its delightful, patchily grand Old
Town. Pedestrianised central streets buzz
with cafs and student life and in late June
and early July the old, riverside Lent district hosts a major arts festival (check with
the TIC for details). From the train station
and nearby bus station, follow Partizanska
c as it curls some 700m westwards to reach
Grajski trg, where the nicest area of town
begins with a somewhat dishevelled castle
museum and the Orel Hotel.

Splavarski
prehod

hotels share the same facilities, including


two indoor thermal pools, two saunas and a
fitness centre. Both offer discounted weekend and week-long packages.
Gostie Raka (% 306 55 10; www.gostinstvo

%02 / pop 116,000

SLEEPING
Hotel Piramida......................... 11 C3
Orel Hotel................................12 B3
Uni Hotel...............................(see 18)

Ul Heroja Staneta

-zdravilisca.si; Zdraviliki trg 11; s/d 14,700/28,500SIT;


pas) The health resorts two four-star

MARIBOR

INFORMATION
Hospital..................................... 1
KIT/Kibla....................................2
Nova KBM..................................3
Post Office.................................4
TIC............................................ 5

Grajska ul

Vital & Kristal Hotels (% 391 94 00; www.krka

There are hourly buses to Novo Mesto


between 6am and 9.05pm Monday to Saturday and one on Sunday at 9.46am. Theres
a weekday bus at 10.29am and one on
Saturday and Sunday at 5.04pm to Ljubljana
via uemberk.

0
0

MARIBOR

Ul Heroja Tomia

Sleeping

Getting There & Around

E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A M a r i b o r 375

Gledalika ul

The tennis courts on the hill northwest of the


camping ground can be hired by nonguests
(15 per hour). Hotel guests can use them
for free until 2pm.
Horse riding is available at the Urbani
farmhouse (%306 53 36, 040 608 969; Koevske Poljane
13; per hr 12; hby arrangement) in Loevske Poljane, 4km to the southwest. Horse-drawn
carriages (30 per hour) for four people
can be hired from Milan Novak (%041 590 877;
Gregorieva 52).

B&B does double duty as a restaurant and is


a popular place for pizza and pasta.

ayerjeva

OTHER ACTIVITIES

8am-11pm Fri & Sat, 10am-10pm Sun Sep-Jun) This

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Strossm

are 300m north of the hotels, reached via


a lovely park. The unusual carved wooden
statues here recall the traditional occupations of this area: logging and woodcarving.
In the Oasis section of the centre are
saunas and steam baths; Aura has massage
and treatments.

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Pobreka

To Dijaki Dom
26 Junij (1.5km)

little Potna south from here into photogenic but traffic-divided Glavny trg. A block
further south down alleys Mesarski or Splavarski Prehod is the Drava Rivers northern
bank. Here youll find the Old Vine (Stara Trta;
Vojanika 8), the worlds oldest living grapevine, which has been trained along an old
riverfront house. It has been a source of
famous Maribor wine for over 400 years.
To the west of the water tower a set of
steps lead to idovska (Jewish St), the centre
of the Jewish district in the Middle Ages.
The 15th-century synagogue (%252 78 36;
idovska 4; h7.30am-2.30pm Mon-Fri) has been renovated, and the square Jewish Tower (idovski
Stolp; idovska 6) is now a photo gallery (%251 24
90; h10am-7pm Mon-Fri, to 1pm Sat).

SLOVENIA

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374 E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A M a r i b o r

The pleasantly semirural Pod-Pohorje


district is 6km south of the city centre.
Much of Maribors accommodation clusters here, near the foot of a cable car (www
.pohorje.org; hdawn-dusk) that whisks summer
hikers and winter skiers alike up the lushly
forested dumpling called Pohorje.

Sleeping
Club VIP Garni Hotel (%229 62 00; www.vip-garni
hotel.com; Tomiieva 10; s/d 40/60) This new B&B
has delightfully distinctive flourishes such
as a gallery of contemporary paintings
surrounding an open staircase. The comfortably retro rooms and its location near
the City Park make the hotel a good-value
choice on the Maribor hotel scene.
Gostilna Pohorka (%614 01 10; Begova 2; s/d
5000/7000SIT) Among some dozen guesthouses in Pod-Pohorje, the best deal is the
Podhorka. Here are four unpretentious but
fully equipped rooms above an appealingly
peaceful terraced restaurant. Its right at
the forests edge, 900m west of the cable
car via Villa Merano, but a shorter walk
by the woodland footpath. You can also
take bus 6.
Hotel Piramida (%233 44 00; www.termemb.si;
Heroja landra 10; s/d 90/114; p) Business travellers will appreciate the glossy, modern
rooms, conference facilities, relaxation
centre and no-nonsense service. Others may
yearn for warmer, more personal touches in
the dcor.
Hotel Tabor (%421 64 10; www.hoteltabor.podhost
nik.si; Heroja Zidanka 18; s/d from 7900/12,500SIT; p)

A trip on bus 6 or about 20 minutes walk


(1km) southwest of Glavny trg (via Gorkega
ul), this is the most central of several nofrills motel-style places dotted about the
suburbs. All of these have parking, and
similar price ranges, and most tend to put
functional cleanliness over charm; ask at
the TIC for details.
Uni Hotel (% 250 67 00; uni.hotel@termemb.si;
Gosposka ul; beds 20) This fantastically central
new hostel is only open to IYHA members
and membership cards are not sold here.
Check-in and reservations (highly advisable) are via the much better-known Orel
Hotel (%250 67 00; www.termemb.si; Grajski trg; s/d
Sep-Jun 48/70, Jul & Aug 60/86) in the block behind (east). The price includes breakfast.
Dijaki Dom 26 Junij (%480 17 10; eleznikova 12;
dm 9; hJul & Aug) This typical student dorm/

www.lonelyplanet.com

summer hostel is 2km east of the town centre. Take bus 3, 99, 10, 10 (1) or 16.

Eating & Drinking


Zimski Vrt Zamorc (%251 27 17; Gosposka 30; meals
from 4000SIT; h11am-11pm) The Winter Garden, with an atrium and lots of marble
and hanging vines, is just round the corner
from the Orel Hotel and owned by the same
group. Its one of the nicest restaurants in
Maribor and serves both international specialities and Slovenian hotpot (zamorek)
dishes.
Ancora (%250 20 33; Jurieva 7; pizzas 1000SIT;
h6am-midnight Mon-Sat) One of the most popular eateries in town, this ground-floor bar
has a pizzeria on the 1st floor.
Gril Ranca (%252 55 00; Dravska 10; grills from
1050SIT; h8am-11pm Mon-Sat) Simple but scrumptious Balkan grills like pljeskavica (spicy
meat patties) and evapii (grilled minced
lamb or beef) are served up as you look over
the Drava.
Takos (%252 71 50; Mesarski Prehod 3; meals from
2200SIT, cocktails 600SIT; h9am-late Mon-Sat, to 1pm
Sun) This atmospheric Mexican restaurant

becomes Maribors top nightspot after the


11pm happy hour on Friday and Saturday.
Pivnica tajerc (%234 42 34; Vetrinjska 30) This
atmospheric old tavern has a brewery downstairs that produces three different kinds of
beer. If youre not a brew-buff, theres also
wine and mead to wash down your Slovenian snacks (from 1500SIT).
Pivnica Alf (% 251 48 44; Splavarski Prehod 5)
Walk through a giant barrel just behind
the worlds oldest grapevine and you enter
what seems to be the worlds oldest pub,
with beamed ceilings and ancient smokestained walls.
Theres a market (Vodnikov trg; h6.30am-3pm
Mon-Sat, to 12.30pm Sun) selling produce just
north of the former Minorite monastery.
Theres a Mercator supermarket (h7am-8pm
Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm Sat, 8am-11am Sun) at Partizanska c 7, and cheap burek stands outside the
train station.

Getting There & Away


Buses run to Ljubljana (2780SIT to 2950SIT
depending on routing, up to 10 daily), Ptuj
(970SIT, at least hourly Monday to Saturday, five on Sunday), Rogaka Slatina (four
daily weekdays) and to various German
cities.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Up to 18 direct trains daily link Maribor to Ljubljana (1710SIT, 2 hours). ICS


trains are faster and more expensive.

Getting Around
Maribors bus system is extensive. Single
rides cost 240SIT if you pay on board. Purchased ahead, a return ticket costs 330SIT.
Most useful routes start near the train
station, including bus 6 to Pod-Pohorje,
which terminates at the cable car.

PTUJ
%02 / pop 19,100

Rising gently above a wide, almost flat valley, the compact Old Town of Ptuj (Roman
Poetovio) forms a symphony of red-tile
roofs viewed most photogenically from
across the Drava River. It culminates in a
well-proportioned castle containing the fine
Regional Museum (www.pok-muzej-ptuj.si/english/
ptgrad.htm; adult/child 600/300SIT; h10am-5pm, later
in summer). For 10 days around Mardi Gras

(usually in February) international crowds


arrive to spot the shaggy Kurent straw men
at Slovenias foremost carnival. Kurent are
traditional figures in Slovene lore that are
analogous to a Dionysios or Shiva. The
tourist office (% 779 60 11; www.ptuj-tourism
.si; Slovenski trg 3; h8am-5pm Mon-Fri, to noon Sat)

faces a medieval tower in the old centre. To


reach it walk south from the bus and train
stations, turn west passing the Hotel Poetovio (which stocks free maps), the classic
Haloze Wine Cellars (%787 98 10; tour-tastings 15001800SIT; hby appointment) and the street cafs
of Lacova ul, Mestni trg and Morkova ul.
West of the centre along grand Preernov
ul, the 18th-century Mala Grad (Small Castle;
Preernova 33-35) now houses a library with
Internet connection.

Sleeping & Eating


Krapa Guesthouse (%787 75 70; rozalija_k@hotmail
.com; Maistrova 19; per person 17; i) All but two
rooms of this utterly delightful homestay
are bright, brand new and with en suite.
Its in a quiet setting between cherry trees
at the dead end of a 900m (as yet) unpaved
track that starts west of castle hill. There are
no single or short-stay supplements and the
friendly hosts are as effervescent as their
homemade wines.
Garni Hotel Mitra (%787 74 55; www.hotelptuj
.com; Preernova 6; s/d/apt 11,000/13,500/18,000SIT)

S L O V E N I A D I R E C T O R Y A c c o m m o d a t i o n 377

This superbly central hotel has a colourful


antique faade, but rooms have somewhat
less panache than the artistic stairways
would suggest.
Terme Ptuj (%782 72 11; www.terme-ptuj.si; per
person Jun-Aug/off-peak 12.10/10.30; h 20 Apr-10
Oct, check-in 5-8pm) This small, starkly un-

shaded camping ground, attached to a spa/


swimming pool complex on the Dravas
southern bank, is about 1.4km from the
Old Town via a footbridge.
Ribi (%771 46 71; Dravska 9; set meals 22003600SIT; h10am-11pm) This old house with a
great riverside terrace is the ideal spot for
a fish feast. Try the tasty and healthy trout
with courgettes. Vegetarian plates are also
available.
Theres an open-air market (Novi trg; h7am3pm) for self-caterers.

Getting There & Away


Buses to Maribor (970SIT, 40 minutes) run
at least hourly on weekdays but are very
infrequent on Sunday. There are only five
buses per week to Rogaka Slatina but if
youre driving theres a delightful country
road via Breg and Rogatec. The latter has
a sweet little open-air museum of rural
architecture. Two daily trains from Ljubljana
(2 hours) stop en route to Budapest (six
hours) departing Ptuj at 9.44am, or 4.16pm
(by InterCity train).

SLOVENIA DIRECTORY
ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation listings in this guide have
been ordered by preference.
Slovenias small but growing handful of
youth hostels includes Ljubljanas unbelievably trendy Celicia. However, many other
hostels are moonlighting college dorms
which only accept travellers in July and
August. Thank goodness they do open then:
in midsummer almost all other accommodation substantially raises prices and it
can be hard to find a room at any price.
Unless stated, hostel rooms share bathrooms. A hostel bed typically costs from
12 to 20.
Guesthouses (penzion, gostie or prenoia) are often cosy and better value
than full-blown hotels, some of which are
ugly if well-renovated Communist-era

SLOVENIA

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376 E A S T E R N S L O V E N I A M a r i b o r

PRACTICALITIES
The system used for weights and meas-

ures is metric.
The video system is PAL, which is

incompatible with the North American


and Japanese NTSC standard, and the
SECAM system used in France.
Electrical supply is 220V to 240V/50Hz

to 60Hz. Slovenia uses the standard


European round-pronged plugs.
Take a look through any of the follow-

ing English-language publications: Slovenia Times, a free newspaper that comes


out every three weeks or so; Slovenija, a
glossy quarterly with a heavy focus on
culture; and Ljubljana Life, an excellent
free bimonthly magazine.
Listen to the nightly news bulletin

broadcast in English year-round at


10.30pm on Radio Slovenija 1 (88.5, 90.0,
90.9, 91.8, 92.0, 92.9, 94.1, 96.4 MHz FM
& 918 kHz AM).

www.lonelyplanet.com

Camping grounds generally charge per


person, whether youre camping or caravanning. Rates usually include hot showers. Almost all grounds close November to
April. Camping rough is illegal, and this is
enforced, especially around Bled.

ACTIVITIES
Slovenia is a very well-organised outdooractivities paradise.

Extreme Sports
Several areas specialise in adrenaline-rush
activities, the greatest range being available
at Bovec, famous for white-water rafting,
hydrospeed, kayaking, and especially for
canyoning ie slithering down gullies and
waterfalls in a neoprene wetsuit with the
very important aid of a well-trained guide.
Bovec is also a great place for paragliding; in
winter you ascend Mt Kanin via ski lifts and
then jump off. Gliding costs are remarkably
reasonable from Lesce near Bled. Scuba diving from Piran is also good value.

Hiking
Frankensteins. Nonetheless it can be difficult to find a double room for under 50.
Beware that locally listed rates are usually
quoted per person assuming double occupancy. The 150SIT to 200SIT per person
tourist tax and a hefty single-occupancy
supplement often lurk in the footnotes.
This chapter quotes the total youll pay. Unless otherwise indicated, room rates include
ensuite toilet, shower with towels and soap,
and a ham and cheese breakfast.
Tourist information offices can help you
access extensive networks of private rooms,
apartments and tourist farms or can recommend private agencies who will. Such
accommodation can appear misleadingly
cheap if you carelessly overlook the 30%
to 50% surcharge levied on one- or twonight stays (this book incorporates them).
Also beware that many such properties are
in outlying villages with minimal public
transport, and that the cheapest one-star
category rooms with shared bathroom are
actually very rare, so youll often pay well
above the quoted minimum. Depending on
the season you might save a little money
by going directly to any house with a sign
reading sobe (rooms).

Hiking is extremely popular, with much


of the capitals population heading for
Triglav National Park at weekends. There
are around 7000km of marked paths, and
in summer 165 mountain huts offer comfortable trailside refuge (see the boxed text,
p358). Several shorter treks are helpfully
outlined in the Sunflower Guide Slovenia
(www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk), which has
excellent map-text correlation.

Skiing
Skiing is a Slovenian passion, with slopes
particularly crowded at New Year and early
in February. Maribors Pohorje (www.pohorje
.org) is a popular choice. Although relatively
low (1347m) its easily accessible, with very
varied downhill pistes and relatively short
lift queues. Enjoyable Pohorje torch parties
(%041 775 175; mopa@siol.net; 3700SIT plus ski lift)

are organised, where partygoers ascend the


slope at night with a glass of bubbly, ski
with flaming torches to a barbecue, and
hope that the shots of blueberry hooch
dont stop them from skiing back again.
Kranjska Gora (1600m) has some
challenging runs; the world record for skijumping was set at nearby Planica. Above
Bohinj, Vogel (1922m) is particularly scenic,

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S L O V E N I A D I R E C T O R Y B u s i n e s s H o u r s 379

as is Kanin (2300m), above Bovec; Kanin has


snow as late as May. Cerkno (1291m, www
.cerkno.si in Slovene) is popular with snowboarders. Being relatively close to Ljubljana,
Krvavec (1970m), northeast of Kranj, can
have particularly long lift queues. See www
.sloveniatourism.si/skiing for information.

Australia (%02-624 34830; vca@mzz-dkp.gov.si;

Other
The Soa River near Kobarid and the Sava in
Bohinj are great for fly-fishing (season April
to October). Licences (58 per day, catchand-release 48) are sold at TICs and hotels.
Bohinj lake-fishing licences are somewhat
cheaper (45, March to September).
Mountain bikes are available for hire
at Bovec, Bled and Bohinj travel agencies.
However, the hire season is usually limited
to May through to October.
In late October theres a Ljubljana marathon (http://maraton.slo-timing.com/).
Spa cures (www.terme-giz.si) are very popular. Most towns have a spa complex and
hotels often offer free or bargain-rate entry
to their guests. The most celebrated spa resort is Rogaka Slatina.

BUSINESS HOURS
Virtually all businesses post their opening times (delovni as) on the door. Many
shops close Saturday afternoon. Sunday are
still holy: although a handful of grocery
stores open, including some branches of
the ubiquitous Mercator chain, on Sunday
most shopping areas are as lively as Chernobyl. Museums often close on Monday.
Banks often take lengthy lunch breaks and
some open Saturday morning.
Restaurants typically open until at least
10pm, bars until midnight, though they
may have longer hours at the weekend and
shorter on Sunday.
The closer winter approaches the earlier
many attractions close and the fewer visits
they allow. This leads to intricately complex
tables of opening times that are beyond the
scope of this book to reproduce in detail.
Fortunately, most attractions have websites
and leaflets displaying complete schedules
in their full glory.

EMBASSIES & CONSULATES

Slovenian Embassies & Consulates


Slovenian representations abroad are fully
listed on www.gov.si/mzz/eng and include:

level 6, St Georges Bldg, 60 Marcus Clarke St, Canberra


ACT 2601)
Austria (%01-586 13 09; Nibelungengasse 13,
Vienna; h9-11am Mon-Fri)
Belgium (%02-646 90 99; Ave Louise 179,
Brussels)
Bosnia & Hercegovina (%033-271 250;
Bentbasa 7, Sarajevo)
Canada (%613-565 5781; 150 Metcalfe St,
Suite 2101, Ottawa)
Croatia (%01-63 11 000; Savska c 41, Zagreb;
h9am-noon Mon-Fri)
Czech Republic (%02-33 08 12 11; Pod Hradbami 15,
Prague; h9am-noon Mon, Wed & Fri)
France (%01 44 96 50 71; 28 rue Bois-le-Vent,
Paris)
Germany (%030-206 1450; Hausvogteiplatz 3-4,
Berlin)
Hungary (%01-438 5600; Cseppk ut 68, Budapest;
h9am-noon Mon-Fri)
Ireland (%01-670 5240; Morrison Chambers,
32 Nassau St, Dublin)
Netherlands (%070-310 86 90; Anna Paulownastraat
11, Den Haag)
New Zealand (%04-567 0027; PO Box 30247,
Eastern Hutt Rd, Pormare, Lower Hutt, Wellington)
UK (%020-7222 5400; 10 Little College St, London SW1;
h9am-2pm Mon-Fri)
USA (%202-667 5363; 1525 New Hampshire Ave NW,
Washington DC)

Embassies & Consulates in Slovenia


Among the embassies and consulates in
Ljubljana (%01) are:
Australia (%425 42 52; Trg Republike 3/XII)
Belgium (%200 60 10; Trg Republike 3/XII)
Bosnia & Hercegovina (%432 4042; Kolarjeva 26)
North of the centre.
Canada (%430 35 70; Mikloieva c 19)
Croatia (%425 62 20; Gruberjevo nab 6)
Southwest of the centre.
France (%479 04 00; Barjanska 1)
Germany (%479 03 00; Preernova c 27)
Hungary (%512 18 82; Konrada Babnika 5)
Northwest of the centre.
Ireland (%300 89 70; Poljanski nasip 6)
Netherlands (%420 14 61; Poljanski nasip 6)
New Zealand (%580 30 55; Verovkova 57)
North of the centre.
Romania (%505 82 94; Podlimbarskega 43)
Northwest of the centre.
South Africa (%200 63 00; Praakova 4)
UK (%200 39 10; Trg Republike XII)
USA (%200 55 00; Preernova c 31)

SLOVENIA

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378 S L O V E N I A D I R E C T O R Y A c t i v i t i e s

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T R A N S P O R T I N S L O V E N I A G e t t i n g T h e re & A w a y 381

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Labour Days 1 and 2 May. Villagers light bonfires on

LANGUAGE

TOILETS

Shaggy Kurent straw men make Ptuj carnival


the place to be at Mardi Gras, though the Julian Alps villages have several lesser-known
equivalents. On 30 April villages hold bonfires and tree raising nights. Throughout
the summer there are dozens of musical and
cultural events, notably in Ljubljana, Piran
and Koper. For lots more information consult www.slovenia-tourism.si.

the night of 30 April, and indulge in tree raising, a local


semisport where competitors take a tree trunk and have to
raise it vertically.
National Day 25 June
Assumption 15 August. Around this date virtually all
accommodation will be booked solid.
Reformation Day 31 October
All Saints Day 1 November
Christmas 25 December
Independence Day 26 December

Closely related to Croatian and Serbian,


Slovene (Slovensko) sounds like Russian
soaked in wine and honey. On toilets, M
(Moki) indicates men, and (enske)
women. Slovene for no smoking may raise
a giggle if you speak Slovak, in which language the same phrase means no farting.
Virtually everyone in Slovenia speaks at
least one other language; restaurant menus
and ATMs are commonly in Slovene, Italian, German and English. See the language
chapter (p419) for key phrases and words.

Toilets are generally free in restaurants but


occasionally youll incur a 50SIT charge at
bus stations.

GAY & LESBIAN TRAVELLERS


The typical Slovene personality, rather
like the Dutch, is quietly conservative but
deeply self-confident, remarkably broadminded and particularly tolerant. Roza Klub
(%01-430 47 40; Kersnikova 4, Ljubljana) is composed of gay and lesbian branches of the
Student Cultural Centre (KUC).
The GALfon (%01-432 40 89; h7-10pm) is
a hotline and source of general information for gays and lesbians. The websites of
Slovenian Queer Resources Directory (www.ljudmila.
org/siqrd) and Out In Slovenia (www.outinslovenija.
com) are extensive and partially in English.

HOLIDAYS

New Year 1 and 2 January. For a week hotel prices go


mad especially in ski resorts.

Preren Day of Culture 8 February


Easter Monday March/April
Insurrection Day 27 April. Commemorates the insurrection against WWII Nazi occupation.

INTERNET ACCESS
Youll find Internet access in most cities and towns but so-called Internet cafs
rarely have more than one or two terminals.
In some places you may have to resort to
the local library, school or university. Note
that Slovene keyboards are neither qwerty
nor azerty but qwertz, reversing the y and z
keys. Otherwise the follow the Anglophone
norm.

INTERNET RESOURCES
The website www.slovenia-tourism.si is tremendously useful. Most Slovenian towns
have very good websites often accessed
by typing www.townname.si or www.town
name-tourism.si. Specially good are www
.ljubljana-tourism.si and www.maribor-to
urism.si. For a particularly interesting series of Slovenian links, try www.carantha
.net or www.matkurja.com/eng.

ADDRESSES & PLACE NAMES


Streets in Slovenian towns and cities are well signposted, although the numbering system can
be a bit confusing with odd and even numbers sometimes running on the same sides of streets
and squares.
In small towns and villages, streets are not named and houses are just given numbers. Thus
Ribev Laz 13 is house No 13 in the village of Ribev Laz on Lake Bohinj. As Slovenian villages
are frequently made up of one road with houses clustered on or just off it, this is seldom confusing.
Places with double-barrelled names such as Novo Mesto (New Town) and rna Gora (Black
Hill) start the second word in lower case (Novo mesto, rna gora) in Slovene, almost as if the
names were Newtown and Blackhill. This is the correct Slovene orthography, but we have opted
to go with the English-language way of doing it to avoid confusion.
Slovene frequently uses the possessive case in street names. Thus a road named after the poet
Ivan Cankar is Cankarjeva ul (although you wont see ul used in this chapter; its implied, so if
its not a trg or a cesta (c), its a ulica) and a square honouring France Preeren is Preernov trg.
Also, when nouns are turned into adjectives they often become unrecognisable to a foreigner.
The town is Bled, for example, but Lake Bled is Blejsko Jezero. A street leading to a castle (grad)
is usually called Grajska ul; a road going in the direction of Trieste (Trst) is Traka c. The words
pri, pod and na in place names mean at the, below the and on the respectively.

MONEY
Until 2007 Slovenias legal currency will remain the tolar (SIT) but euros are already
very widely accepted. Exchanging cash is
simple at banks, major post offices, travel
agencies and menjalnica (exchange bureaus). Prices listed in this chapter are in
euros or tolar, depending on which currency was quoted by the business reviewed.
Travellers cheques are less convenient.
Major credit and debit cards are accepted
almost everywhere and ATMs are astonishingly ubiquitous. Slovenian and Italian
prices are similar, and youll find Slovenia
considerably more expensive than Hungary
or the Czech Republic.

POST
An international airmail stamp costs
107SIT. Poste restante is free: address mail
to, and pick it up at, Slovenska c 32, 1101
Ljubljana.

TELEPHONE
Public telephones require a phonecard
(telefonska kartica), available at post offices
and most newsstands. The cheapest card
(700SIT, 25-unit) gives about four minutes
calling time to other European countries.
Most locals have a mobile phone. Some
businesses quote only a mobile number,
identifiable by codes 030, 031, 040 and
041.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Ambulance
Fire Brigade
Police

%112
%112

%113

TOURIST INFORMATION

The superhelpful Slovenian Tourist Board (www


.slovenia-tourism.si) has dozens of Tourist
Information Centres (TICs) in Slovenia
and branches in nine cities abroad; see
website for details. Request its free Guide to
Slovenias Byways, which contains tokens for
5-15% savings on various hotels, activities
and sights, including the kocjan Caves.

VISAS
Passport holders from Australia, Canada,
Iceland, Israel, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, the USA and EU countries can stay 90 days without visas. South
Koreans get 15 days. Most other citizens,
including South Africans, must apply for
a visa (multiple entry 35) at a Slovenian
embassy or consulate before arriving in
Slovenia. Note that there is no consulate in
South Africa. Youll need travel insurance,
passport photocopies and hotel bookings
plus one photo. Same-day processing is
possible in Zagreb (Croatia) but elsewhere
it takes from three working days (London)
to a week (Budapest).
EU and Swiss citizens can enter using a
national identity card for 30-day stays.

WOMEN TRAVELLERS
Crime is low and harassment rare, but in
emergencies contact the womens crisis helpline (%080 11 55). Normally someone there
will speak English.

TRANSPORT IN
SLOVENIA
GETTING THERE & AWAY
This section covers how to get to and from
Slovenia from other countries in the Western Balkans. Information about points of
entry to the Western Balkan countries is
covered in the Transport chapter (p402).

Air
Slovenias only international airport is Brnik
(code LJU; www.lju-airport.si) near Kranj, some

SLOVENIA

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380 S L O V E N I A D I R E C T O R Y Fe s t i v a l s & E v e n t s

DEPARTURE TAX
A departure tax of 3600SIT is collected
from everyone leaving Slovenia by air. This
is usually included in the ticket price, but
its always best to check.

www.lonelyplanet.com

Zagreb, Croatia (2781SIT, 2 hours, eight


daily), Rijeka (2759SIT, 2 hours, one daily
via Opatija) and Pula (4259SIT, five hours,
one daily, summer only).
Seat reservations, often compulsory, cost
300SIT extra.

Sea
23km north of Ljubljana. From here the
national carrier, Adria Airways (airline code JP;
%01-239 10 10; www.adria-airways.com), has regular direct flights to Prishtina, Podgorica,
Skopje and Sarajevo. Maribor Airport (code MPX;
www.maribor-airport.si) handles charter flights
and freight only.

Land
Whether by train or bus, chances are that
youll reach other Western Balkan countries via Croatia.
BUS

International bus destinations from Ljubljana include Sarajevo (9250SIT, 10 hours,


7.15pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday),
Split (7150SIT, 10 hours, daily), Rijeka
(2990SIT, 2 hours), and Zagreb (3340SIT,
three hours, four daily) via attractive Novo
Mesto.
CAR & MOTORCYCLE

Slovenia maintains about 150 border


crossings with Italy, Austria, Hungary and
Croatia, but not all are open to citizens
of third countries. On country maps and
atlases, those marked with a circle and a
line are international ones; those with just a
circle are local ones. Although it is a member of the EU, Slovenia will not be part of
the Schengen border plan until 2006 at the
earliest. The 670km border it shares with
Croatia will then become the last frontier
of the EU.
International vehicle insurance is compulsory in Slovenia. If your car is registered
in the EU, you are covered, and Slovenia has
concluded special agreements with certain
other countries, including Croatia. Other
motorists must buy a Green Card valid for
Slovenia at the border (42 for 15 days, 60
for a month).
TRAIN

In addition to international lines (see p408),


there are daily trains from Ljubljana to

The Marina (www.losinjska-plovidba.hr) sails from


the port of Koper to Pula, Mali Loinj and
Zadar (25.50, 13 hours) in Croatia once a
week from mid-June to early September.

GETTING AROUND
Trains are usually cheaper but less frequent
than buses. Beware: frequency on both
drops off very significantly on weekends
and in school holidays.

Bus
In recent years, bus service in Slovenia has
gone from the sublime to the silly, particularly in the eastern part of the country. Bus
departures have been halved (or worse),
many stations are deserted and everyone
seems to be behind their own wheel. Nowadays it would be very difficult to tour Slovenia exclusively by public bus but, in some
areas, you dont have a choice. Bus is the
only practical way to reach Bled, the Julian
Alps and much of Dolenjska, Koroka and
Notranjska.
You can buy your ticket at the bus station
(avtobusna postaja) or simply pay the driver
as you board. In Ljubljana you should book
your seat one day in advance if youre travelling on Friday or to destinations in the
mountains or on the coast on a public holiday. Bus services are severely restricted on
Sunday and holidays (less so on Saturday).
Many routes are serviced by more than one
bus company. If you buy a return ticket
youll be limited to returning with the same
company, which could mean a long wait.
The 10% discount some companies offer
for a return ticket may not be worth it.
Some bus stations have a left-luggage
office (garderoba) and charge 350SIT per
piece per hour. They often keep bankers
hours; if its an option, a better bet is to
leave your things at the train station, which
is usually nearby and keeps longer hours.
If your bag has to go in the luggage compartment below the bus, it will cost 360SIT
extra.

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Bicycle
Cycling is a popular leisure pastime in Slovenia, and bikes can be carried free of charge
in the baggage compartments of InterCity
(IC) and regional trains. On buses, you can
put your bike in the luggage compartment,
space permitting. Cycling is permitted on
all roads except motorways. Many towns
and cities, including Ljubljana, Maribor,
Celje, Ptuj and Kranj, have bicycle lanes
and special traffic lights.

Car & Motorcycle


AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATIONS

Slovenias national automobile club is the


Avto-Moto Zveza Slovenije (AMZS). For
emergency roadside assistance, motorists
should call it on %19 87 or %01-530
53 53. For information on road and traffic conditions, contact the AMZS (%530 53
00; www.amzs.si; Dunajska c 128) in Ljubljana. All
accidents should be reported to the police
(h113) immediately.
DRIVING LICENCE

If you dont hold a European driving


licence and plan to drive in Slovenia, obtain
an International Driving Permit from your
local automobile association before you
leave youll need a passport photo and a
valid licence. They are usually inexpensive
and valid for one year only.
FUEL & SPARE PARTS

Petrol stations, which accept most credit


cards, are usually open from about 7am to
8pm Monday to Saturday, though larger
towns have 24-hour services on the outskirts. Unleaded 95-octane petrol (bencin)
costs about 225SIT per litre.
HIRE

Hiring a car is recommended, and can even


save you money as you can access cheaper
out-of-centre hotels and farm or village
homestays. Daily rates usually start at 45,
including unlimited mileage, collisiondamage waiver and theft protection. At the
time of research, Hertz (%01-234 46 46; www
.hertz.si), beside Ljubljana bus station, offered
a tiny Smart at 40.
INSURANCE

International vehicle insurance is compulsory in Slovenia. If your car is registered in

T R A N S P O R T I N S L O V E N I A G e t t i n g A r o u n d 383

the EU, you are covered, and Slovenia has


concluded special agreements with certain
other countries, including Croatia. Other
motorists must buy a Green Card valid for
Slovenia at the border (150 for 15 days,
218 for a month).
ROAD CONDITIONS

Roads in Slovenia are generally good (if a


bit narrow at times) and well maintained.
Driving in the alps can be hair-raising, with
a gradient of up to 18% at the Korensko
Sedlo Pass into Austria, and a series of 49
hairpin bends on the road over the Vri
Pass. Many mountain roads are closed in
winter and early spring. Motorways and
highways are very well signposted, but secondary and tertiary roads are not always; be
sure to have a good map at the ready.
No less than US$4 billion has been
invested in the expansion of Slovenias
motorways. There are two main motorway
corridors between Maribor and the coast
and from the Karavanke Tunnel into Austria to Zagreb in Croatia intersecting at the
Ljubljana ring road, with a branch from Postojna to Nova Gorica. Motorways are numbered from A1 to A10 (for avtocesta), and a
toll is payable (eg 490SIT from Ljubljana to
Postojna, 1160SIT to Maribor).
Major international roads are preceded
by an E. The most important of these are
the E70 to Zagreb via Novo Mesto, the E61
to Villach via Jesenice and the Karavanke
Tunnel, and the E57 from Celje to Graz via
Maribor. National highways contain a single
digit and link cities. Secondary and tertiary
roads have two sets of numbers separated
by a hyphen; the first number indicates the
highway that the road runs into. Thus road
10-5 from Nova Gorica and Ajdovina
joins the A10 motorway at Razdrto.
ROAD RULES

You must drive on the right. Speed limits for cars and motorcycles are 50km/h in
towns and villages, 90km/h on secondary
and tertiary roads, 100km/h on highways
and 130km/h on motorways.
The use of seat belts is compulsory, and
motorcyclists must wear helmets. Another
law taken very seriously is the one requiring
all motorists to illuminate their headlights
throughout the day. The permitted bloodalcohol level for drivers is 0.5g/kg.

SLOVENIA

SLOVENIA

382 T R A N S P O R T I N S L O V E N I A G e t t i n g A r o u n d

SLOVENIA

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384 T R A N S P O R T I N S L O V E N I A G e t t i n g A r o u n d

Hitching
Hitchhiking is fairly common and perfectly legal, except on motorways and a few
major highways. Even young women hitch
in Slovenia, but its never totally safe and
Lonely Planet doesnt recommend it.

Train
Slovenske eleznice (Slovenian Railways; %01-291 33
32 from 5am-10pm; www.slo-zeleznice.si) has a useful
online timetable. Buy tickets before boarding

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or youll incur a 500SIT supplement, except


for IC trains where the surcharge can run up
to 1000SIT. Note that the fast IC trains are
more expensive than the local variety.
A useful and very scenic rail line from
Bled Jezero station via Bohinjska Bistrica
(Bohinj) cuts under roadless mountains to
Most na Soi (for Kobarid), then down the
Soa Valley to Nova Gorica. Cars are carried through the tunnel section on special
Avtovlak trains.

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